Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale HA4561 McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle 84-0027, 53rd FS, Bitburg AB, Germany, May 1992 “Operation Desert Storm”. Buy online at Flying Tigers.
In 1967 the U.S. became aware of the Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat. This made it necessary to develop a new aircraft to counter the MiG-25. The USAF rejected the USN F-14 Tomcat and issued its own requirements. The solution came in the form of the McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle. The F-15A made its inaugural flight in July 1972 and in January 1976 the first Eagle entered service. The “E” entered service in 1989. The F-15 was the first dedicated USAF air superiority fighter since the F-86 Sabre.
The 53rd FS began as the 53rd Pursuit Squadron. In 1952 the squadron began operating from Bitburg and in 1977 received their first F-15A/B with newer F-15C/D replacements arriving in 1980. On December 20, 1990 24 aircraft from the 53rd TFS deployed to the Gulf War until July 1, 1991. On January 27, 1991 53rd TFS F-15C 84-0027 flown by Captain Benjamin Powel shot down an Iraqi Mirage and a MiG-23. The 53rd returned to Bitburg and on October 1, 1991 was re-designated 53rd FS. The 53rd FS was deactivated in 1999.