Local News

Grounded Seymour Johnson squadron returns to skies

Posted July 18, 2013
Updated July 19, 2013

— A squadron of F-15 Strike Eagles at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base that was grounded in April because of federal budget cuts resumed operations on Wednesday, officials said.

The 336th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Wing was ordered to stand down as part of an effort to fly 45,000 fewer training hours through the end of September.

The squadron, known as the World Famous Rocketeers, is one of two operational F-15E units based at Seymour Johnson, near Goldsboro.

“The Rocketeers are excited to be back up and running,” Lt. Col. Jim Howard, 336th Fighter Squadron commander, said in a statement. “We have a significant hill to climb to get the squadron back to our previous readiness level, but the Rocketeers are anxious to get back to doing what we do best – preparing and employing world famous Strike Eagle Airmen and aircraft to execute the missions our country demands."

With no allocated flying hours, the air crews have performed ground training, worked on flight simulators and studied in recent months to maintain basic skills and knowledge of their aircraft.

“Since April we’ve been in a precipitous decline with regard to combat readiness,” said Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command. “Returning to flying is an important first step, but what we have ahead of us is a measured climb to recovery.”

Congress authorized Air Combat Command to reallocate $1.8 billion to restore flying hours.


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  • lwe1967 Jul 18, 2013

    They grounded the Squadron, but the president spent 100 million in Africa because of the sequester.

  • busyb97 Jul 18, 2013

    Pretty sad that they couldn't find other less important areas to cut funding....sure, makes sense to cut our national defense. It is so hard to keep up with the stupidity these days!

  • razor2 Jul 18, 2013

    First off thanks to the men and women who serve to protect the
    people of our nation. While having to do more with less the level
    of professionalism and integrity of our armed services is still
    the best in the world. Even with the Republicans in congress fighting for Big Business and Corporate America instead of the
    citizens of our country you shine.. Even with a Congress that
    can't eliminate the bureaucracy. Our current veterans and
    returning veterans face along with the diminishing benefits that you earned being gutted due to the greed of a few business and corporate leaders that hold our congress locked in ideological conflict destroying our country from within you shine... Ty.

  • town guy Jul 18, 2013

    great! the military can get back to burning some real money now!

  • awomack123 Jul 18, 2013

    "Yet Obama spends millions flying around the country and the world on the campaign trail."

    Is Obama running for President of another country? I must have missed that on the news.

    ALL presidents use Air Force one for travel. The presidency needs to be secured at all times. That's true for EVERY president in recent memory.

    Now, have ALL of them wasted time and money flying around to different places, maybe. But singling Obama out makes no sense, other than for someone that just likes to complain and has no understanding of what a President does

  • baldchip Jul 18, 2013

    Conservative-that is asking liberals far to much-cut gov't spending!! All they know is cutting military-certainly not social programs. That's where their votes come from!!!

    And let's be real-this is all about votes!! Everything they do in DC is political.

  • ConservativeVoter Jul 18, 2013

    Yet Obama spends millions flying around the country and the world on the campaign trail.

  • ConservativeVoter Jul 18, 2013

    Instead of ground air force squadrons, they need to eliminate the wasteful government spending starting with welfare and wealth transfer programs. All able bodied people on welfare need to be removed from the program make to do something to earn a living.

  • ConservativeVoter Jul 18, 2013

    Why wasn't Air Force One grounded. It's operated by Air Force personnel.

  • mrduright Jul 18, 2013

    there are only a few dozen pilots and a thousand support personnel. They all were paid flying or not!