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Home » Specials » 493rd F.S.

The 493rd Fighter Squadron was re-activated on January 7th 1994 after it flew as a bomber squadron with the F-111F till December 1992. The squadron, with the nickname "Grim Reapers" recieved their first F-15C on November 15th 1993. Straight from Bitburg Eagle 86-0164 flew to RAF Lakenheath, using callsig 'Eagle 21'. Later that same day the first F-15D followed from Bitburg, being aircraft 86-0182 using callsign 'Eagle 22'. The other 18 Eagles for the 493rd were flown over directly out of the US (from Langley and Eglin) and the last one touched down on Lakenheath on July 22nd 1994, being the 86-160 flown over directly from Langley. That same summer the squadron was declared 'Mission Ready'. In 1998 the squadron received an additional 6 F-15's from the deactivated 53rd F.S. from Spangdahlem.

 

Within the United States Air Forces in Europe the 493rd Fighter Squadron is one of the most active units. The 'Grim Reapers' participated in many operations world wide, like operation Provide and Northern Watch above Iraq, operation Allied Force above the former Yugoslavia and the Baltic Air Policing missions.

 

During one of the Close Air Support mission above/near the former Yugoslavia Col. Cesar Rico Rodriguez shot down a Serbian MiG-29. On March 24 1999 he downed the Fulcrum when flying aircraft 86-169/LN, using an AIM120 AMRAAM. On the same day the Squadron shot down another MiG-29 with aircraft 86-159/LN, using three AIM120's. Two days later, on March the 26th, aircraft 86-156/LN shot down two more MiG-29's in the afternoon, using two AMRAAM's as well. Within 72 hours the 493rd killed four Fulcrums!

 

In 2000 the 493rd lost one of their F-15C's when Capt. Kirby was forced to eject while enroute from Nellis Air Force Base to the ranges during a Green Flag Exercise. Aircraft 86-0173/LN was lost, but fortunately Capt. Kirby was picked up by a H60 being unhurt.

Six months later the 'Grim Reapers' lost two other F-15C's, when they crashed in Scotland during a low level training exercise. Unfortunately the two pilots were killed during the cash against the Ben Mucdui mountain and aircraft 86-0169/LN and 86-0180/LN where lost. On July 1st 2001 the 493rd received aircraft 83-0018/LN and 84-0004/LN to replace the lost Eagles. The 493rd F.S. lost one of there two F-15D two-seaters on October the 8th 2014. Aircraft 86-0182/LN crashed at 15:30 local time in a field north west of RAF Lakenheath, but fortunately the only pilot flying the dual could eject safely.

 

In 1997 the 493rd recieved the Hughes Trophy for being USAF best Air Superiority Squadron. For this Trophy there is being watched very carefully at the air defence/air superiority performance, operational mission, performance, training exercise participation, organizational readiness inspection results, unit achievements etc. This great achievement was repeated again in 1999, 2007 and 2014, an exeptional performance!