Reapers receive Raytheon Trophy

ROYAL AIR BASE LAKENHEATH, England -- The coveted Raytheon Trophy was awarded to the 493rd Fighter Squadron, May 13, during a celebration at the Duxford Imperial War Museum, England.

Every year, fighter squadrons across the Air Force are judged on their performance across specified mission sets, exercise participation, inspection results, and squadron and individual achievements.

"It is truly an honor for the Grim Reapers to receive this award,” said Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd FS commander. “I have never been a part of an ops and maintenance team that works this well together, and I am extremely proud of the Gold Team's dedication to accomplishing our mission every day."

During 2016, the 493rd FS provided 4,858 flying hours throughout the various deployments and exercises they led or participated in.

“Air Superiority is the sole and only purpose of the Grim Reapers, and tonight we are here to celebrate the fact that they are the undisputed best in the world at that calling,” said Col. Evan Pettus, 48th Fighter Wing commander.

The squadron displayed teamwork and dedication to the mission during a grand total of 190 days in 11 allied countries, and by executed 146 days of deployed flying operations while integrating with 22 allied air forces.

“Every day I witness the Grim Reapers pouring their hearts and souls, their sweat and tears into this most sacred of missions,” Pettus said. “[They] are truly our nation’s sword and shield, its sentry and avengers.”

This marks the 5th time the 493rd FS has earned this recognition in 10 years.