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Flightline, first responders answer F-15 emergency call

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airfield operators and Firefighters in flightline fire suits respond to an F-15A Eagle that landed on Vandenberg's flight line Aug. 30 due to operational difficulties. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Robert Lewis)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airfield operators and Firefighters in flightline fire suits respond to an F-15A Eagle that landed on Vandenberg's flight line Aug. 30 due to operational difficulties. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Robert Lewis)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airfield operators and Firefighters in flightline fire suits respond to an F-15A Eagle that landed on Vandenberg's flight line Aug. 30 due to operational difficulties. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Robert Lewis)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airfield operators and Firefighters in flightline fire suits respond to an F-15A Eagle that landed on Vandenberg's flight line Aug. 30 due to operational difficulties. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Robert Lewis)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airfield operations and first responder teams reacted Aug. 30 when a call came from an F-15C Eagle pilot requesting to land at Vandenberg's flight line due to operational difficulties.

The pilot reported a failure in the jet's left engine, said Staff Sgt. Norman Davis, NCOIC of airfield management training with the 30th Operations Support Squadron.

Tower personnel and airfield operators called emergency responders and suspended airfield operations until the Vandenberg Fire Department chief called termination of the in-flight emergency, Sergeant Davis said.

The fire department, 30th Medical Group and 30th Security Forces Squadron were among the first response who answered the call.

Seven security forces Airmen waited on scene to provide a cordon if needed, said Master Sgt. William Flester, chief of 30th SFS Alpha Flight. Ten more waited on standby for guidance from the fire department, he said.

The plane was one of four F-15's en route to Jacksonville International Airport, Fla., from Kadena Air Base, Japan, said Maj. Richard Bittner, the public affairs officer for the 125th Fighter Wing, Fla. Part of a Base Realignment and Closure initiative, the four jets are the first shipment of F-15C's that will transition from Kadena to Florida to replace existing F-15A's, he said.

One of the three other jets broke off and landed here with the other plane without incident.

The responding fire department chief declared the emergency over at 12:41 p.m., said Sergeant Davis.

While a repair crew will be called in from another base, the 30th OSS continues to provide support for the jet and the pilot, as well as runway inspections and maintenance for the jet's departure.

"We make sure he gets everything he needs," Sergeant Davis said. "We fuel the jet and order parts. Basically, we're the caretakers while the jet is on the ground."

While Vandenberg has no fixed wing aircraft assigned to it, aircraft land here throughout the year. An F-22 landed at Vandenberg due to operational difficulties for a two-day stay on Dec. 10, 2005, five days before Air Force officials declared the craft operational.