102nd FW Ramp Visit - Otis ANGB, Cape Cod, MA
102nd FW Ramp Visit
Otis ANGB, Cape Cod, MA
The 102nd Fighter Wing was born back in 1921 as the 101st Observation Squadron. They first flew on a training site of land filled tidal flats at Jefferies Point in East Boston which later became Logan Airport. In 1961, the 101st was in Phalsbourg AFB Germany in support with NATO when the Berlin wall come being built. The 101st started flying the F-86H in '61, converted to the F-84F Thundersteak, in '71 they made the switch to F-100D Supersabres. In March of 72 they made the switch to the F-106 Delta Dart and became the first ANG unit to to receive the F-15A in 1988. At the time of my visit were being transfered to the C model which came from Kadena AFB.
I met Mr McDonald at the front gate around twelve noon. I was there to photograph the 2 o'clock launch and recovery. The ramp was a mixture of A's and the newer C's model Eagles. Some of the C models hadn't had the MA tail code applied yet. We walked out to to ramp where some of the crews were working on their aircraft for this sorte. Aircraft 089 had their crew attaching the practice missles for the flight.
We then proceeded to the hanger where some aircraft were under different stages of maintanence. Some guys were working on the rudders of one aircraft, while the aircraft next to it had it's right engine out being overhauled. Another set of guys were working in the cockpit of aircraft 097 which had the excellend backdrop of the American flag.
It was around 1:20 so we started over the where the pilots would be coming out. Capt Dan "Rosco" Wittmer gave me the thumbs up as he walked out to his aircraft. We drove over to the tower and this time we walked out to the grass in front of it. This was a great view of the aircraft taxing by, it was a different perspective from my last visit. Once the first 4 aircraft went by we went up the tower. They were using RW23 for their departures today, this was good as they would be flying right towards me instead of away from me on RW32. Once they all departed, there was a F-15E Strike Eagle from Lakenheath that was taxing out to depart.
We waited in the tower for the flight to return. I was able to see a USCG Jayhawk and Falcon fly into the Coast Guard station that shares the base. No Army activity from unit directly across from us. They were building a brand new fire station and barracks directly across from us. One of the controlers showed me the screens he looks at and the information each aircraft gives back to him. It was very interesting to see what they get to see, from all the small Cessna type aircraft that the cape is usually filled with, to the fighters based here at Otis.
The first Eagles to arrive was the two ship, they came in high and performed their mid field break for spacing. They simply landed with no practice in the pattern. Another two ship came in this time "Rosco" came in low for some shots. He waited till he passed the tower and pulled up and left giving me a great view of the top of his aircraft. With his wingman landing, he came around to land as well. The last two Eagles came straight in to land, with the long runway they kept their nose up using the aircraft to help them slow down.
With the upcoming BRAC recommendations, the 102nd FW will lose it's F-15s. They will be moved over to Barnes ANG's 104th FW sometime around the mid 2007. For now the USCG Airstation, and the Army National Guard will stay at Camp Edwards. Many thanks to the men and women of the 102nd FW, and especially Mr McDonald for allowing me on for another visit.