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Oregon Air Guard pilot surpasses 2,000 flying hours in F-15 fighter

Maj Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot, lands an F-15 Eagle following a routine training mission that marked his 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

Maj Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot, lands an F-15 Eagle following a routine training mission that marked his 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

Maj. Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot, prepares to shut down the aircraft following a routine training mission that marked his 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

Maj. Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot, prepares to shut down the aircraft following a routine training mission that marked his 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

Maj. Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot, is greeted by his two year old son following a routine training mission that marked his 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

Maj. Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot, is greeted by his two year old son following a routine training mission that marked his 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

Maj. David Unruh, 173rd  Fighter Wing Instructor Pilot, places a 2,000 hour patch on the shoulder of Maj. Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot,  following a routine training mission that marked Smith's 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

Maj. David Unruh, 173rd Fighter Wing Instructor Pilot, places a 2,000 hour patch on the shoulder of Maj. Jeffrey Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Instructor Pilot, following a routine training mission that marked Smith's 2,000 hour flying the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore. February 12, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Released)

February 12, 2010 -- KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - An Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagle pilot reached the 2,000 flight-hour milestone, Feb. 12, 2010.

Maj. Jeffery Smith, an instructor pilot and the Chief of F-15 training for the 114th Fighter Squadron at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore., crossed that threshold during a routine training mission.

Smith is self effacing when asked to reflect on his achievement.

"While on active duty, I was the 'old, experienced' guy with my 1,200 hours. I came here (Kingsley Field) with about 1500 hours in 2005 and brought down the (Squadron) average. Now, at least, I'm average," Smith said as he laughed.

Smith graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1995 and completed F-15 FTU at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in December 1997. After spending 10-and-half years in the active duty Air Force, Smith joined the Oregon Air National Guard and became part of the 114th Fighter Squadron.

"It's an honor to fly with such a talented group of instructor pilots here at Kingsley Field," he said.

Smith has received many accolades in the more than 12 years he has spent flying the F-15, including the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Outstanding Graduate in 2002.

"The F-15 is the only fighter I wanted to fly, and I'm lucky to have flown it for my entire career. It's easy to fly, but tough to employ," said Smith.

The 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls is one of two Oregon Air National Guard wings. The 142nd Fighter Wing is located in Portland, Ore. and conducts an air sovereignty alert mission. The 173rd Fighter Wing is one of two active duty U.S. Air Force F-15 schoolhouses in the nation, and is postured to become the sole provider of F-15 formal training.