Fighter jet honors West Linn, makes appearance in Romania
West Linn made an appearance of sorts on the other side of the world a this summer when an F-15C Eagle aircraft with a City of West Linn decal on its nose arrived in Campia Turzii in Romania as a part of the Oregon Air National Guards 142nd Fighter Wing.
The plane and its pilot, Lt. Col. Sean S. Sullivan, 123rd Fighter Squadron Commander, are stationed in Romania as part of a security package supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve. Sullivan lives in West Linn and has been a part of the Oregon Air National Guard for the past three years.
During Sullivans time with the Oregon Air National Guard hes flown many different planes in many different countries, none of which is more special to him than the aircraft sporting West Linns City of Honor decal on its nose.
While he hasnt been asked about the artworks origin from anyone in Romania as of yet, he says its a frequent talking point when back in Portland.
When were in the air its pretty hard to see the logo, but we do base tours once a quarter when were back home and part of the tour is seeing the various airplanes and people will ask about it, Sullivan says. We always have good stories to tell about where the planes have been.
The plane with the West Linn nose art is a part of the Cities of Honor program, which gives local cities the opportunity to show support to the Oregon Air National Guard as well as provide Air National Guard members a small piece of home when overseas in different parts of the globe.
They support our mission because our members live in those communities or work for the local governments, or in many cases have a direct connection to the Wing, said Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, a public affairs specialist with the 142nd Fighter Wing.
The Oregon Air National Guard has already conducted ceremonies honoring 17 different cities with West Linn being one of them recognizing different parts of Oregon and Washington. There are five more upcoming on the docket. The ceremonies are a way for communities to see what the planes look like firsthand and gives the Oregon Air National Guard a chance to say thanks for all the support.
Typically we have the citys mayor out or council people out to dedicate the plane and show it off to the local community, Sullivan says. The point of the Cities of Honor program is really to show a connection to the community and show that guard members arent only in Portland, but are spread all across the state.
Sullivan and other members of the 142nd Fighter Wing will remain in Romania for some time before heading back home to Oregon. Sullivan is joined by another West Linn resident, Logistics Plans Superintendent Pam Pittman, who has also played an intricate part in the successful couple of months in Europe the unit has enjoyed thus far.
Our goals here are for us to show our partnership with our NATO allies, to show support for a peaceful, stable Europe and work on interoperability with NATO allies, Sullivan says.
Once back they will get the chance to reconnect with family and the communities shown on the decals plastered on their planes. After that theres really no telling where the West Linn F-15C aircraft will travel to next.