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Osan pilot reaches 3,000 hour milestone

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The deputy commander of the 51st Operations Group surpassed the 3,000 hour mark in the F-16 Fighting Falcon here today. 

Lt. Col. Mark DeLong was greeted by wing leadership, including Brig. Gen. Joe Reynes, 51st Fighter Wing commander, and Lt. Cols. Scott Caine and Brandon Sweat, 25th and 36th Fighter Squadron commanders, to congratulate him as he exited the jet. 

Only 161 other pilots have reached 3,000 flight hours in the F-16, according to Code One Magazine. Compared to the more than 500 pilots who've surpassed 2,000 hours and the more than 3,000 who've reached 1,000 hours, reaching this milestone is impressive, said Capt. Jeremy Cukierman, 36th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations.

"Typically, pilots fly sorties less than 1.5 hours long, and (they) typically fly 250 hours a year," said Captain Cukierman. "This is a momentous event." 

Colonel DeLong, who served in the Republic of Korea at Kunsan AB in 1992, said it was an honor to have people come to the flightline to celebrate his reaching this mark. 

"3,000 hours is approximately half of any flying hour program for a squadron," he said. "So, if you think on that level, the amount of people it takes to execute a 3,000 hour flying program ... flying 3,000 hours is humbling."