RAF Lakenheath fighter pilot known as 'Slayer' receives prestigious award
PUBLISHED: 16:12 01 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 01 January 2019
A fighter jet pilot known as 'Slayer' based at RAF Lakenheath has received the most prestigious fighter pilot award in the US Air Force.
Major Eric Joachim, of the 48th Operations Support Squadron in the Liberty Wing, who is the chief of wing weapons and tactics and an F-15 Eagle pilot, was presented with the Lt. Col. Anthony C. Shine Award at the base on Tuesday, December 11.
He was given the award due to his “exceptional flying abilities, superior leadership and dedication to his community”.
Maj. Joachim said: “I am very flattered to receive this award, but I see it more so as a reflection of the people that I work with on a daily basis. Thank you for being my wingman.”
Maj. Joachim also received a ceremonial knife and a glass trophy as part of the presentation.
Lt. Col. Anthony Shine, for whom the award is named after, went missing in action in 1972 and the annual award is presented to the pilot that is judged to have best exemplified his best characteristics; outstanding flying ability, top-notch leadershp and unwavering devotion to community.
Collen Shine, Lt. Col. Shine’s daughter, travelled to Lakenheath to present the award alongside General Tod D. Wolters.
She said: “The award honours not only exceptional pilots but also exceptional people.
“Maj. Joachim’s outstanding service in flying, teaching and leading is a reminder of all that is right about today’s Air Force.
“He is a sterling example of the calibre of character and excellence in flying my father stood for.”
Gen. Wolters, the Air Forces Africa commander for the United States Air Force in Europe, said during the presentation: “We’re here to recognize the best fighter pilot of 2017.
“I feel so comforted to know that this year’s Anthony C. Shine Award winner is Eric “Slayer” Joachim. What a perfect fit. Congratulations my friend. We are very proud of you.”
Lt. Col. Shine went missing in action during a reconnaissance and escort mission in December 1972 near the border of Laos and North Vietnam.
His remains were later repatriated in 1995 after more than 20 years missing.
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