Black Sheep log first Viper flight

Black Sheep log first flight

Maj. Jeffrey Harding, 8th Fighter Squadron director of operations, waits for clearance to taxi at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 27, 2017. Harding was part of the first two-ship formation flight, led by Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, 8th FS commander, since its reactivation here Aug. 4, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

Black Sheep log first Viper flight

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 8th Fighter Squadron takes off at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 27, 2017. The aircraft was part of the 8th FS’s first two-ship formation flight, led by Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, 8th FS commander, since its reactivation here Aug. 4, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Chase Cannon)

Black Sheep log first flight

Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, 8th Fighter Squadron commander, performs a systems check on an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to taxi at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 27, 2017. Sletten led the 8th’s first two-ship formation flight since its reactivation here Aug. 4, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

Black Sheep log first flight

A crew of maintainers from the 8th Aircraft Maintenince Unit conduct a pre-flight check on an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to taxi at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 29, 2017. The aircraft was part of the 8th Fighter Squadron’s first four-ship formation flight, led by Capt. Alison Romanko, 8th FS flight commander, since its reactivation here Aug. 4, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy M. Young)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

The 8th Fighter Squadron logged their first official two-ship formation flight here Nov. 27 and first four-ship formation flight Nov. 29, 2017.

The 8th FS, also known as the Black Sheep, was deactivated here May 13, 2011, and recently reactivated, six years later, Aug. 4, 2017.

Since its reactivation, members of the 8th FS have worked diligently to bring the squadron up to speed with maintaining and piloting F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft nicknamed, the “Viper.”

This week’s flights were just two of many steps toward the squadron’s overall mission to train future fighter pilots.

"I am honored to lead the Black Sheep,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, 8th FS commander. “They are truly the finest men and women America has to offer. This week, we have the high honor of adding to the history books of one of the most storied fighter squadrons the Air Force has ever produced. While these first flights are historical, there is much work yet to be done in accomplishing our mission of building the future of airpower. The Black Sheep could not be prouder of being part of such an important mission.”

 The 8th FS is expected to be home to approximately 45 F-16s, 60 Airmen and 600 contract maintainers.

Many of the 265 currently assigned contract maintainers in the 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit have prior service experience, though much of that experience is somewhat dated. One crew chief, Leamon Comb, expressed great excitement in joining the flightline once again.

“Most of the maintainers haven’t stepped on the flightline since we got out years ago,” said Leamon Combs, 8th AMU F-16 crew chief. “It’s nice to be back out here again. You don’t realize how bad you will miss it until you leave.”

While the Black Sheep continue to log new milestones, they follow in the footsteps of the other fighter squadrons here at Holloman as they continue to develop Airmen, create new F-16 pilots, and requalify former F-16 pilots as part of an overall production effort to alleviate the shortage of fighter pilots in today's Air Force.