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Highlighting heritage

Air Combat Command Inspector General, Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, speaks at a dining-in, May 6, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force base, Idaho. Coe spent a few days visiting his old stomping grounds, the 389th T-Bolts Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith/Released)

Air Combat Command Inspector General, Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, speaks at a dining-in, May 6, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force base, Idaho. Coe spent a few days visiting his old stomping grounds, the 389th T-Bolts Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith/Released)

Air Combat Command Inspector General, Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, poses in front of a F-15E Strike Eagle with fellow T-Bolt members, May 6, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Coe served as the base’s first Strike Eagle commander almost 10 years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith/Released)

Air Combat Command Inspector General, Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, poses in front of a F-15E Strike Eagle with fellow T-Bolt members, May 6, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Coe served as the base’s first Strike Eagle commander almost 10 years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith/Released)

Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, Air Combat Command Inspector General and Col. Jefferson O’Donnell, 366th Fighter Wing commander talk as they prepare to play golf, May 6, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Coe visited MHAFB as part of a Gunfighter reunion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith/Released)

Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, Air Combat Command Inspector General and Col. Jefferson O’Donnell, 366th Fighter Wing commander talk as they prepare to play golf, May 6, 2017, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Coe visited MHAFB as part of a Gunfighter reunion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- With the Air Force’s 70th birthday approaching, Mountain Home Air Force Base celebrated some heritage of its own with a visit from Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, Air Combat Command Inspector General.

While here, Coe spent time with his old fighter squadron, the 389th T-Bolts, attended a social, change of command, and was the guest speaker for a Gunfighter reunion dining-in.

Although he was only assigned here for a year, it was a significant time for the base – the F-16s were replaced by the F-15E Strike Eagles, allowing him to serve as the first T-bolt commander of the Strike Eagles.

After being a part of this significant transition, Coe noticed many things remained unchanged since his departure.

“I think a lot of things have stayed the same, some of the heritage we have here in the squadron has stayed the same, obviously the building – some of the ways we’re doing business and heritage items have stayed the same; it’s good to see that continuity,” he said.

With the history of the name “Gunfighters,” comes great pride, Coe explained. He believes things of the past have a great impact on the future – especially a fighter wing like the 366th.

“They were able to fly F-4s in Vietnam, adapt to get a gun pod on that thing, get aerial kills with it [and] increase combat effectiveness,” he said. “That kind of innovative spirit is still needed today, whether it’s tactics, development or whether it’s our processes in the Wing.”

He also recognizes the importance of heritage in the Air Force as a whole.

“We need to understand our heritage and where we came from,” he said, “Why it’s important and why we need to keep that going forward in the future.”

Coe believes going back to our roots of innovation is what can take us to the next level.

“One of our pride and principles is we’ve never been bound by doctrine or dogma – or anything – we’ve always been free thinkers that find a better way to get things done,” he said. “That’s what we need to embrace; one of the ways you do that is through heritage and history.”

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