October 12, 2017 (by 1st Lt. Casey D Rodriguez) - Spangdahlem's own 480th Fighter Squadron was awarded the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Commander's Trophy for Outstanding Fighter Squadron on Sept 13, 2017. The "Warhawks" have come out on top among all other USAFE fighter wings in such areas as aircrew training, ground/flying safety and direct operations support.
Members of the 480th FS stand near an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the squadron, on Sepetember 13, 2017. The 480th FS is the 2017 recipient of the USAFE Commander's Trophy for Outstanding Fighter Squadron. [USAF photo by TSgt. Staci Miller]
Not only did the Warhawks take home the USAFE
Commander's trophy, but Capt. Tyler Brummer of the 480th was also honored as USAFE's Fighter Aviator of the Year.
"I joined after 9/11, like a lot of other people in my age group did. Flying fighters just seemed like the right way to go," said Brummer.
"The United States Air Force in Europe's total number of personnel, aircraft and squadrons has shrunk by over 50% since the early 1990s. As our force presence gets smaller, the demand on each remaining squadron grows exponentially," said Lt. Col. Michael Richard, 480th FS
commander. "2016 was a big year for us: the Warhawks deployed and set the record for F-16 weapons employed on a 6-month deployment."
The awards may be addressed to two specifics, but nothing in the military is ever truly about the individual. "Capt. Brummer and the 480th are representative of the great work we're doing here as a team," said Richard.
The squadron dropped more than 1,900 precision-guided munitions during the deployment. With the support of the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Group, the squadron was able to generate more sorties than any previous F-16 unit had ever done in a 6-month period.
"It wasn't so much what we did so much as it was the people we were flying with," recalls Brummer. "Being able to go out with guys from the squadron and build that relationship was truly something special… That's probably the best part of flying."