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Lt. Col. Dave Iverson
Lt. Col. Dave Iverson (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

Officer hits milestone for hours in an F-15 while in Afghanistan

Lt. Col. Dave Iverson recently set a mark that earned the 492nd Fighter Squadron member kudos from across the Air Force.

The RAF Lakenheath-based pilot logged his 3,000th hour in an F-15E fighter jet during his current deployment to Afghanistan. That translates to 125 full days in the cockpit of one of America’s most advanced aircraft.

The University of Virginia grad chatted last week in the 492nd’s command center on Bagram Air Field about his historic flight and more.

You’ve deployed to Afghanistan during a precarious period in the country’s history. The Taliban is making a resurgence, and your squadron has been called on nearly daily to support troops on the ground. Is this what you expected?It’s been an active summer, and we’re fortunate to have been here during this time.

Three thousand hours is some kind of accomplishment, can you remember where you logged 1,000?Alaska.

And 2,000?Las Vegas.

And 3,000 in Afghanistan?I tried to go low profile with the 3,000th hour. I’m not comfortable with the limelight, but my wife said just to be comfortable and enjoy it. To me, it’s more important that we’re (the squadron) so close and how we treat each other rather than my 3,000 hours.

If you have to look back on any single hour, any one that makes you particularly proud, what would it be?I don’t know that any one comes to mind. The first time that you fly, and the first time that you fly without an instructor. Those still stand out as spectacular.

Were you one of those pilots who knew you wanted to fly since you saw your first airplane?Since about 3 [years old], I talked about flying. I was fortunate that I grew up in a flying family. My father flew F-4s, F-15s and F-16s.

How many hours did your father clock?About 3,800 combined.

Now that you’ve hit 3,000, can you go for another 1,000? Can you make it 4,000?I don’t know, really. I look at it as one day at a time. I look at it as, “I got to fly today, and that was great.” Every time I climb out of the jet, I’m thankful. When you’re younger, you take this stuff for granted — not that I am old and wise or anything — but not any more. Now I’m grateful for every flight.

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