It was not a useless "show of force": this video shows that the nearly 70 F-15Es took off after Elephant Walk

Some readers of this blog sent me comments and emails after I published the article about the “insane” line up at Seymour Johnson AFB on Apr. 16. Although almost everyone was impressed by the amount of fighters (with inert armament) on the runway, someone thought it was nothing more than a “useless show of force” since aircraft (in their opinion) did not take off.

Actually, the main difference between the Kunsan airbase “Elephant Walk” (made of 60 U.S. and South Korea’s F-16s) and the one performed by nearly 70 F-15Es at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., is that (number of aircraft aside), in the first case, the aircraft were armed with live ordnance hence did not take off (they just taxied down the runway); in the the second one, the 4th FW launched about 70 sorties to virtually destroy 1,000 mock targets across the state!

Here’s a video showing the Strike Eagles taxiing down the runway and then take off in sequence.

Indeed “Mustang Mayhem 2012” (that’s the name of the 4th FW exercise) was a show of force. But, just like Operation Chimichanga, it was also a way to validate procedures used for mass launches.

Once again: “train as you fight, fight as you train”.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.