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87 FTS: 100 years in the making

87th FTS

Members of the 87th Flying Training Squadron celebrated the squadron’s centennial at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The 87th’s mission is to graduate the world’s best military pilots, training students in the T-38C Talon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

85 FTS: 100 years in the making

Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, prepares to taxi out before a flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. Allen was part of a four-ship formation to celebrate the 100th birthday of the squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

87 FTS: 100 years in the making

U.S. Air Force T-38 Talons from Laughlin Air Force Base’s 87th Flying Training Squadron perform an aerial formation flight over the greater Del Rio area, Aug. 18, 2017. The flight was performed in recognition of one hundred years of active squadron flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

85 FTS: 100 years in the making

U.S. Air Force T-38 Talons from Laughlin Air Force Base’s 87th Flying Training Squadron perform an aerial formation flight over the greater Del Rio area, Aug. 18, 2017. The flight was performed in recognition of one hundred years of active squadron flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

85 FTS: 100 years in the making

T-38 Talons from Laughlin Air Force Base’s 87th Flying Training Squadron perform an aerial formation during the 87th FTS’ centennial celebration flight over the greater Del Rio area, Aug. 18, 2017. The 87th FTS is responsible for training U.S. Air Force and allied nations in undergraduate pilot training in preparation for the students to move on to more advanced aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

85 FTS: 100 years in the making

Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, lands a T-38C Talon after a formation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

In commemoration of Laughlin’s 87th Flying Training Squadron’s 100th anniversary five T-38 Talons took flight today, Aug. 18.

The centennial flight kicked off the day’s activities with a four-ship formation intended to highlight the squadron’s rich heritage and legacy that it continues to make in developing future combat-ready pilots.

“The Red Bulls are proud of our heritage and the integral role we play in producing the greatest pilots that join the combat Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87 FTS commander, whose flagship aircraft dons the 87 FTS 1940 mascot, the “Skeeter,” on the tail with the words “100th Anniversary.”

The day included a unit photo, short commemorative ceremony and an espirit de corps cooking competition between members of the 47th Maintenance Directorate and 87 FTS.

At the ceremony stood the 87 FTS guideon, embellished with campaign streamers from Egypt, Italy, Germany and many other points around the globe. These streamers signify the squadron’s participation in combat areas, making it not only one of the most decorated squadrons in the Air Force, but one of the oldest.

With a mission committed to developing the world’s best military pilots and mission-ready warriors, the 87 FTS has upheld its duty by maintaining a class size of 9 students, while graduating approximately 115 pilots over the last year.

 “When you go back to the first pilots and maintainers who started our unit, to the pilots who flew in North Africa in World War II, and to the unit when it was protecting America’s northern border, one thing remained consistent…their commitment to excellence,” Allen said. “Today, our goal is simple: graduate the best fighter and bomber pilots in the Air Force.”