August 23, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Last week's Excalibur bombing competition saw Aviano's 31st Fighter Wing win "Top Wing" honors, while Aviano's 510th Fighter Squadron was designated "Top Flight", thus winning the F-16 two out of three prizes.
The Excalibur bombing competition, held in the UK, had been resurrected this year by Gen. Robert H. 'Doc' Foglesong, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. It aims to improve bombing skills as well as allow fighter pilots from various squadrons throughout USAFE
to meet and exchange ideas and experiences.
During the competition, USAFE F-16s from the 31st FW at Aviano Air Base, Italy
and the 52nd FW at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, competed with USAFE F-15Es from the 48th FW from RAF Lakenheath, and Tornado and Jaguar units from the Royal Air Force. Missions were flown agains targets in two training ranges in England. Crews were judged on accuracy, but also how well they stayed within given parameters as they dropped dummy bombs on a target.
While F-16 units took the "Top Wing" and "Top Flight" awards, the "Top Gun Crew" award went to an F-15E crew from the 492nd FS
at RAF Lakenheath.
Gen. Foglesong hopes to organize an expanded Excalibur competition next year.