The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Command patch; when I arrived at the 86th Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, I was attached to the 526th Fighter Squadron, “Black Knights” for flying in the F-16D.
At Ramstein AB, Germany, I worked closely with both the 512th, “Dragons” and the 526th, “Black Knights” – but for flying purposes I could only be attached to one squadron – and the 86th Wing assigned me to the 526th Fighter Squadron.
The 526th Fighter Squadron, “Black Knights” accepted me as one of their own from the start; and I worked closely with their Weapons Shop and MX folks on aircraft EC testing to have the wing’s F-16s static tested by the EW Aggressor Squadron and air checked by flying special Polygone EC Range profiles we designed.
My 526th Fighter Squadron, “Black Knights” name tag in the larger cloth version – and once again my flight gear was hanging in a squadron’s Life Support Shop and I was now officially a, “Black Knight.”
Here’s the smaller version of my nametag with the black, “naughayde leather” backing; the 526th, “Black Knights” would be the last fighter squadron I flew with in my Air Force career.
I kept the callsign, “Doctor” which was really a good fit for me – based on the “Jones, MD” version of my name – despite the fact that I didn’t have a medical or doctorate degree.
The 526th Fighter Squadron scarf in the classic F-16 design in red and black; with all of the different jobs and projects that I was involved in, I found less and less time than I originally thought I’d have to actually fly in the F-16D.
This is my 526th “Black Knights” helmet visor cover with the subdued 526th patch on the gray “genuine” leather visor cover; I had always relied on a regular flying schedule in the past to stay acclimated to the high G environment in the F-16 – especially during air-to-air sorties – but now I wasn’t flying often enough.
After a while I realized that my occasional flying in the F-16D resulted in the aircraft outperforming my physical ability to keep up with the jet’s G forces in the air-to-air environment because I just didn’t fly often enough – and so I made the personal decision to give up flying the F-16D on my own.
I’ve saved this picture from the Air Force Association’s, “Aerospace Education Foundation Calendar” – showing Rick Herter’s painting of the 526th Fighter Squadron’s aerial victories – because this combat event occurred during the time I was part of the Black Knights.
I knew both Capt. Bob Wright and his wingman Capt. Scott O’Grady – and this single episode was an important engagement in the history of air-to-air combat. (See page 23 of the Ramstein AB, “2008 Heritage Pamphlet” for more details – painting courtesy of the AFA Calendar and painted by Rick Herter.)