October 31, 2018 (by 1st Lt. Casey D Rodriguez) - Lt Col Mike Richard, 480th Fighter Squadron commander, surpassed 2,000 flying hours on October 18th, 2018, in the airspace around Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
Lt. Col. Michael Richard, 480th FS commander, poses for a portrait in front of an F-16 at Kallax AB, Sweden on October 31st, 2018. Richard surpassed 2,000 flying hours this month in the airspace around Spangdahlem AB. [USAF photo by SSgt. Jonathan Snyder]
In many military career fields, hands-on work is often gradually replaced with administrative tasks as you climb the ranks. Being a fighter pilot is a little different -- Richard still maintains proficiency in the F-16.
"I see it more as a stepping stone than an accomplishment", Richard said.
A few days after passing 2,000 hours, Richard deployed in support of Trident Juncture 2018 as detachment commander of the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.
"It's always a significant effort to bring F-16s and their support personnel to a foreign country," Richard said. "We'd like to demonstrate our interoperability with NATO
and our partners for peace, as well as demonstrate our joint readiness."
The Airmen of the 480th EFS join around 50,000 personnel from 31 nations, making Trident Juncture NATO's largest exercise since the Cold War.
"My next step is to impart some of that wisdom with our next generation of fighter pilots," Richard said.