25.02.2014 Shir Cohen - iaf.org.il
Ten years ago, the first F-16I fighters landed in Israel in their new home at the "Negev" squadron in Ramon Airbase. Last week, the aircrews that greeted the first F-16I upon their arrival ten years ago, gathered at Ramon airbase and reenacted the first flight
Despite the inclement weather outside, February 19th, 2004 was a day of great significance for the IAF. Two new F-16I fighter planes landed at Ramon airbase and began a new era for the force.
Last week, the participants of the event in 2004 gathered at the exact same spot to mark the decade anniversary of the advanced aircrafts. The participants included generations of aircrews from the "Negev" squadron, people involved in the F-16I squadrons and Brigadier General Amikam Norkin, the Head of Air Division, who at the time served as commander of the first F-16I squadron.
The highlight of the day was the reenactment of the first flights of the planes: two of the original planes met the aircrews that had flown them that winter day in February 2004.Lieutenant Colonel Amir, commander of the squadron, said at the end of the busy day: "There is excellent synergy among all the F-16I squadrons that you can clearly see that that is the way the founders of the division had intended it to be".
In addition to the reenactment flights, the soldiers of the squadron also gathered to preserve the tradition of F-16I in the IAF and held a special quiz on the operations of the past decade. "Looking back at our heritage is of tremendous importance", said Lieutenant Colonel Amir in his speech at the event. "However, we need to continue developing and leading, as well as learning from others and working as one with our sister squadrons".