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NEWS | Jan. 19, 2007

Langley receives last Raptor to complete fleet

By Airman 1st Class Chase S. DeMayo 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 1st Fighter Wing received its last assigned F-22A Raptor Friday when the 94th Fighter Squadron accepted tail number 5085, bringing the total to 40 F-22s to complete the fleet.

Brig. Gen. Burt Field, 1st Fighter Wing commander, flew the final jet from the Lockheed Martin factory in Marietta, Ga. to Langley.

"Completing our fleet of F-22s gives us that much more of an advantage at providing air dominance anywhere in the world," said General Field.

It was only 20 months ago that the first Raptor was delivered here May 12. On Dec. 15, 2005, initial operational capability was declared for the 1st FW Raptors. The future still has much in store.

"Next month, we will begin deploying Raptors under the Air Expeditionary Force cycle for the very first time," said General Field. "As the F-22 is quickly maturing, this is another great landmark for the Air Force's fighter of tomorrow."

The 27th FS will deploy to Kadena Air Base, Japan with 250 Airmen and 12 F-22s, officials announced earlier this month. The deployment is another example of how the Air Force is meeting its ongoing commitments and security obligations by maintaining a flexible and credible presence.

Designed to ensure America's air dominance for years to come, the F-22A will guarantee U.S. joint forces' freedom from attack and freedom to attack, even as adversaries continue to advance their weapons and technologies.

The arrival of the Raptor made Langley not only the first base to have operational F-22s, but is now the first in the Air Force receive its full compliment of assigned aircraft.

Both the 27th and now the 94th Fighter Squadron, which were the first and second fighter squadrons in America, are now fully manned with F-22s capable of carrying out air dominance for America.

"It's amazing that 13 months ago, we were an F-15 fighter squadron, and today, we are officially an F-22 fighter squadron," said Lt. Col. Dirk Smith, 94th FS commander.

Almost 30 years ago the 94th FS received its last F-15 and now 30 years later, received its last F-22.

"This is a huge milestone not only for the Airmen of the 94th FS and maintenance group, but also signifies the tremendous capabilities our Airmen have to adapt," said Colonel Smith.

Next month 14 Raptors will deploy to Nellis AFB Nev. and participate in a Red Flag event as well as assist other squadrons who will soon be receiving their own batch of F-22s.

Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska is the second base scheduled to receive operational Raptors, however each aircraft will come through Langley. For the near future both "AK" Elmendorf and "FF" 1st FW tails will be seen along the newly renovated Langley flightline.

"We can now take our lessons learned to help Elmendorf begin marshalling in their own wing of F-22s," said General Field. "We are all one big team, and we want them to be very successful."

As today marks the end of a milestone, it also begins the triumph of the F-22. Without the support of Langley, Lockheed Martin and the entire F-22 team - all this wouldn't be possible.

"I'm truly proud of the hard work and dedication of each and every Airman in the 1st FW for making the F-22 program a success during its maiden voyage in the Air Force," the general said.