AETC Major General Zadalis visits the 173rd Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Heather Bashor
  • 173rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Major General Timothy Zadalis, the Director of Intelligence, Operations, and Nuclear Integration at Headquarters Air Education and Trainng Command (AETC), visited the 173rd Fighter Wing after a recent AETC restructuring that brought the 173rd FW under his command. General Zadalis spent all day, Tuesday, July 24th touring the 173rd FW and learning about the many facets of the Wing's vital mission as the F-15 Premier Pilot Training School House.

At the start of the day, Zadalis expressed his enthusiasm for the Oregon Air National Guard pilot training mission. "This is a great place to fly and a great mission," he said.

Zadalis, a cargo aircraft pilot, spent the morning preparing for an F-15 familiarization flight, learning about the equipment and terrain, exploring the outside of the fighter jet, greeting many Kingsley men and women, and touring base facilities and new construction. After his morning tour, he stated, "We don't want to mess with this operation. You know what you are doing."

In the afternoon, Zadalis was ready for his first flight in the F-15. When asked if he had any apprehension about the ride, he responded, "I just hope I don't lose my lunch." Zadalis then stepped to the aircraft and buckled up for the ride.

Upon return and with his lunch intact, Zadalis could not say enough about his experience. "That was incredible; I've never seen an aircraft do anthing like that!"

With regard to the amount of physical stress that the fighter jet puts on the body, he stated, "I do not know how you guys do this for 25 years."

Zadalis thanked all the Airmen involved in making the visit possible. He expressed his enthusiasm and optimism about the future of a possible total force integration (TFI) at Kingsley as the Air Force decides to plus-up F-15C graduate production. A TFI would bring active duty men and women to Kingsley and increase the number of pilots graduating from the school house.

Col. Robert Erickson, Air National Guard Advisor to General Zadalis and former Kingsley member, stated, "After seeing the people, the facilities, the mission, and the excellence at Kingsley, we now are strong advocates for Kingsley." He added, "I have no concerns for a TFI at Kingsley. It would be fantastic for the Oregon Air National Guard and for Klamath Falls."