ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Lt. Col. Mike Casey, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, puts an Eagle 2,000 hours flying patch on Lt. Col. Lendy Renegar, 493rd FS director of operations, after Renegar landed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10, 2012. Renegar reached 2,000 flying hours in and F-15C Eagle flying over the Atlantic Ocean to take part in Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nev. (Courtesy photo)
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Lt. Col. Lendy Renegar, 493rd Fighter Squadron director of operations, prepares to take off in an F-15C Eagle here, July 9, 2012. Renegar reached 2,000 flying hours in an F-15C Eagle while flying over the Atlantic Ocean to take part in Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Connor Estes)
by Senior Airman Connor Estes
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/13/2012 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Lt. Col. Lendy "Alamo" Renegar, 493rd Fighter Squadron director of operations, reached 2,000 flying hours in an F-15C Eagle on July 9. He reached the achievement on a flight from RAF Lakenheath to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., where the 493rd FS is participating in Red Flag.
Reaching the 2,000 hour mark is no small feat, and it falls right in line with what Renegar knew he wanted to do from an early age.
"I have wanted to be an F-15 pilot since 1980 when I sat in one at an airshow at Pope Air Force Base, N.C.," said Renegar. "The F-15 demonstration pilot let me sit in it and told me how he shot planes down ... I loved it and went to a local bookstore and bought an F-15 book. It's all I've wanted to do ever since."
Renegar began flying civilian aircraft during high school and went on to Air Force pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla. He credits all of the instructors he's had along the way that spent extra time with him as being key to becoming a successful pilot.
Commissioned almost 18 years ago, Renegar has many memories of his time as a pilot, especially flying in combat.
"My best memories are certainly my first solo in the Eagle ... it was what I had been dreaming about my whole life, and when it happened I was simply overwhelmed," he said. "My first combat deployment is a memory I'll never forget. Flying over hostile territory the first time was surreal, and I loved every minute of it."
In addition to the great instructors he's had along the way, Renegar credits those that have maintained the jets that he's flown over the years. Reaching 2,000 hours without any major emergency is a testament to how well they do their jobs, he said.
"Hitting 2,000 hours in the F-15C is an incredible milestone," said Lt. Col. Mike Casey, 493rd FS commander. "It has become increasingly rare as F-15C units become fewer and fewer for any pilot to hit this mark. I'm very proud of Alamo. It's awesome to have him as squadron director of operations, as his experience in the jet makes him an incredible asset!"
According to Renegar, it was never about setting a target to reach a certain amount of hours, but to just keep flying as much as possible through his career.
"I have picked all my jobs based on the goal to 'stay in the cockpit,'" he said. "I have to admit that it does feel pretty cool to not only be one of the few that get to fly F-15s, but one of the few to get 2K in it."
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Public Affairs Office
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