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Retired fighter pilot reflects on Air National Guard career

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rachel Simones
  • 178th Wing

Joseph Frederick, a retired U.S. Air Force captain with the 178th Wing, returned to the Springfield Air National Guard Base, May 23, and reflected on his time as a pilot in the Ohio Air National Guard.

 Frederick enlisted in 1967 as an Airman Basic and waited for a pilot position to become available.

 “I was one of fourteen pilot trainees,” said Frederick. “I was lucky enough to get that one slot for that year. I was eternally grateful to Col. Spencer, the squadron commander at that time, for giving me the opportunity.”

 Frederick flew the F-84F “Thunderstreak” aircraft for four years, and the F-100 Super Sabre for another four years.

 “I started flying the F-84F in 1968 and I enjoyed it very much,” said Frederick. “It was a good, honest airplane.” 

 Frederick reminisced about his first flight in the F-84F aircraft upon returning from pilot training. The thrill of flying fighter planes was an experience that impacted him for the rest of his life.

“The first flight was a solo flight, because Republic Aviation didn’t make any two-seaters,” said Frederick. “So that was always an exciting thing as a new pilot coming back from flight training to be able to fly alone for the first time in a jet fighter."

 Upon Frederick’s return to the 178th Wing years later, he realized the aircraft currently preserved as a static display on base was one that he flew. Frederick was able to stand beside his aircraft once more at the Springfield Air National Guard Base.

 “Those were some of the best years of my life,” said Frederick.