One of the F-16 pilots in the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s has reached the extraordinary milestone of 5,000 flight hours

One of the F-16 pilots in the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s has reached the extraordinary milestone of 5,000 flight hours
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On September 21, 2021, at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma, Lt. Col. David S. Gritsavage, an F-16 pilot of the 138th Fighter Wing, became the first person in the 138th Fighter Wing to log 5,000 hours in an F-16. Gritsavage is the first pilot from the 138th Fighter Wing to achieve this level of success while flying an F-16. He is the eleventh pilot to accomplish this feat while piloting an F-16.

Gritsavage is quoted in an intriguing item published on News On 6: “I started flying F-16s in the year 1997.” “Grits” is the call sign that he uses. He said that most of the time, other individuals would pick the call sign. “It’s a good thing I didn’t do anything too dumb, and it fits in with my last name,”

Grits became one of just 11 other F-16 pilots in the globe to achieve the 5,000-hour milestone last autumn, as reported by the website Out of the 29 nations that operate the F-16, there is one pilot from Belgium and ten people from the United States on the 5,000-hour list. Gritsavage said, “It simply means that I have given my whole life to my work, which is something that I adore just as much as my nation.”

“We’ll need it when we get into combat. “We need that experience to safeguard our nation,” said the colonel in command of the 138th Air National Guard Base, Chad Phillips.

Gritsavage was praised by Col. Phillips for his will to keep fighting.

“I have been a member for close to 27 years, and I just hit the 3,000-hour mark. This means that I am 2,000 hours behind him. Which is an occurrence that does not occur very often, “Col. Phillips added.


Grits and his wife Regina, employed at the base as flight surgeons, relocated from Vermont to Tulsa in 2018, taking the career move with them. Before moving, Grits had logged around 4,000 hours in the air. Approximately one thousand of those hours were spent in combat. Because of his employment, he has been to many other countries.

Flying out of Saudi Arabia. Flying out of Qatar for Iraq. A handful of events in Afghanistan, a handful of occasions in Korea, a handful of occasions in Japan or Okinawa. After that, I went to Djibouti once, “Lt. Col. Gritsavage remarked. “I’m sure there are a few more somewhere in there, and then it’s just DACT and training, flag events in Alaska and Vegas, and pretty much all over the United States,” said the speaker. “I’m sure there are a couple more somewhere in there.”

Grits reflected on the journey that had been his longest one, which had lasted almost nine hours. He said, “It may be dull for hours, and it could be incredibly fascinating for minutes or seconds.” Those exhilarating seconds would not have been conceivable if there had not been guardsmen there on the ground.

Every day, hundreds of workers put forth a lot of effort so that every aircraft may take off from the base. This comprises the flying equipment team for the aircrew, mechanics, maintainers, and civil engineers, amongst many more “Then, those gentlemen have to commit a significant amount of time to ensure that the aircraft is in a condition where it is safe to fly so that we may take it to the location in question. After that, they don’t do anything else. They are quite busy. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to pull it off, “Gritsavage stated.

In June 1993, the 138th Fighter Wing transitioned from the A-7D Corsair II to the F-16. Since then, they have participated in the following operations: PROVIDE COMFORT, NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, ENDURING FREEDOM, and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL.

By flying the F-16C Fighting Falcon, which is without a doubt the greatest multi-role fighter in the world, the members of the 138th Fighter Wing are delighted to continue a long legacy of providing excellent service. This tradition dates back many decades.



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