Meet the Pilots: F-15 Memorial Day Flyovers

Meet the Pilots: F-15 Memorial Day Flyovers (173rd Fighter Wing/KTVL Graphic)

If you're in southern Oregon on Monday attending a Memorial Day Parade or community gathering, chances are that you might spot a pair of F-15's flying overhead.

The 173rd Fighter Wing out of Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls will conduct flyovers for ceremonies in Medford, Eagle Point, Brookings, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls and elsewhere in southwestern Oregon.

With the duo of F-15 Eagle's being flown roughly 1,000 feet overhead at speeds of nearly 400 miles per hour; ever wonder who is piloting the aircraft?

News 10's Brian Schnee wanted to find out who will be flying over thousands of people in southern Oregon.

“The pilots who will be flying this year’s Memorial Day flyovers for the 173rd Fighter Wing are Col. Jeff Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing commander, and Lt. Col. Julius Romasanta, the 550th Fighter Squadron commander," Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar, Public Affairs Manager at the 173rd Fighter Wing said. "This is one of the last flights Smith will take in the F-15 as he prepares to retire on June 1. The 550th Fighter Squadron is the active duty association at Kingsley Field. “

Col. Jeff Smith was first assigned to Kingsley Field in November of 2005 as Chief of Academics for the 114th Fighter Squadron. After numerous command change and promotions, Smith took command of 173rd in April, 2016.

Lt. Col. Julius Romasanta has been in Klamath Falls since August 2017.

According to the 173rd Fighter Wing website, "Lt Col Romasanta commands 91 operations, maintenance, support and administrative personnel in the operation of 33 F-15C/D aircraft valued at $1.2 billion while producing active, guard and reserve component air-to-air combat pilots."

Col. Smith will retire on June 1, 2019.

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