September 23, 2009 (by SrA Tong Duong) - Over the skies of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, one Luke F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot recently reached a milestone that few pilots can claim.
Lt. Col. Greg Lukasiewicz
Lt. Col. Greg Lukasiewicz, 62nd FS assistant director of operations and 944th FW, 301st FS reservist pilot, broke 4,000 F-16 flying hours after 20 years of piloting the F-16 jet. [USAF photo by SrA. Tong Duong]
, 62nd Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and 944th Fighter Wing, 301st Fighter Squadron Reservist pilot, broke 4,000 F-16 flying hours after 20 years of piloting the F-16 jet, making him the 26th F-16 pilot to amass the equivalent of more than 166 days in the cockpit.
For Colonel Lukasiewicz, it is just another notch on his belt.
"Our flight commanders keep a log of our flying hours and track individual pilots' flight hours," he said. "I was reminded a couple of weeks ago that I was getting close. I've been fortunate to have flown the F-16 Viper for 20 years. It was just a matter of time."
Upon being selected for the U.S. Air Force Academy, the South Hadley, Mass., native wasn't sure he wanted to be a pilot, but after trying a sail plane and soaring as well as the Cessna program, he became interested in pilot training. He had no airframe preference as long as it was a fighter.
Colonel Lukasiewicz started F-16 training at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., with a follow- on assignment to Moody AFB
, Ga. From there he bounced to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Pope AFB, N.C., Cannon AFB, N.M., and finally landed at the 62nd FS
culminating 14 years of active-duty flying.
When the 301st FS opened up that year, wanting to settle his family, wife, Christine; daughters, Nicole, 8, and Savannah, 5, in the valley, Colonel Lukasiewicz put in for and was accepted to fly full-time as a Reservist with the 308th, 309th Fighter Squadron and now back with the Spikes.
In the 20 years of pilot service, he has participated in many training exercises and real- world engagements.
"From 1994 to 1999, I did four 90-day tours during Operation Southern Watch," he said. "I've also flown some great training missions, from dropping live munitions during exercise sorties in Thailand
to participating in large-force engagement exercises during Red and Green flag."
Colonel Lukasiewicz is grateful for two decades of flying different blocks of F-16 jets.
"I've flown Blocks 25, 30, 40, 42 and some 52s that I've delivered to foreign military sales such as Greece
," he said.