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Congressman Pearce takes to the skies of New Mexico

U.S. representative Steve Pearce (left), New Mexico 2nd district, shakes hands with Maj. Matthew Marshall, 54th Fighter Group fighter pilot, after a successful training mission flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

U.S. representative Steve Pearce (left), New Mexico 2nd district, shakes hands with Maj. Matthew Marshall, 54th Fighter Group fighter pilot, after a successful training mission flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico 2nd district, receives training in an F-16 Fighting Falcon simulator, from Maj. Ryan Chute, 54th Operation Support Squadron deputy commander, before Pearce’s orientation flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico 2nd district, receives training in an F-16 Fighting Falcon simulator, from Maj. Ryan Chute, 54th Operation Support Squadron deputy commander, before Pearce’s orientation flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

Senior Airman Nicholas Nealeigh, 54th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment, measures U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico 2nd district, for his face mask prior to his F-16 Orientation flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

Senior Airman Nicholas Nealeigh, 54th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment, measures U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico 2nd district, for his face mask prior to his F-16 Orientation flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

Maj. Brent Ellis (left), 311th Fighter Squadron fighter pilot, briefs U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (middle right), New Mexico 2nd district, and Maj.’s Matthew Marshall and David Feth, 54th Fighter Squadron fighter pilots, prior to stepping to the aircraft, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

Maj. Brent Ellis (left), 311th Fighter Squadron fighter pilot, briefs U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (middle right), New Mexico 2nd district, and Maj.’s Matthew Marshall and David Feth, 54th Fighter Squadron fighter pilots, prior to stepping to the aircraft, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

Senior Airman Joseph Garcia, 54th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, gives the go sign for Maj. Matthew Marshall, 54th Fighter Group fighter pilot, and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico 2nd district, for their flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

Senior Airman Joseph Garcia, 54th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, gives the go sign for Maj. Matthew Marshall, 54th Fighter Group fighter pilot, and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico 2nd district, for their flight, Dec. 16, 2016, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Pearce was offered an orientation flight on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, to better understand the capabilities and mission of the F-16. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda N. Junk)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M --

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico’s 2nd district, came to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, for an orientation flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon, Dec. 16, 2016. 

This flight was offered to Pearce as a way for him to experience the weapon systems displayed to gain a better understanding of the F-16 and its mission.

“The flight itself was absolutely amazing and stunning. The combat-type mission, high-performance climbs, looking straight down at the earth and seeing it rush to you, was a once in a lifetime chance.” Said Pearce, “No question that this is the world’s best Air Force”

The F-16 is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. 

“As the 54th Fighter Group prepares to become the largest F-16 Formal Training Unit in the United States Air Force, we are happy to showcase our fighter training to Congressman Pearce,” said Col. James Keen, 54 Fighter Group commander. “The support of his leadership, along with that of the Alamogordo community, is truly valued throughout the entire 54th Fighter Group family.”

Before Pearce took to the skies he went through the process of egress training and medical clearance.

While conducting egress training, Pearce learned about what to expect in the event of an ejection, and what he could do to improve the chances of survival. The 49th Medical Group flight doctors checked anthropometric standards to properly fit flyers into the aircraft, in the event ejection procedures needed to be implemented. Cardio conditions, from asthma to the common cold, will stop an individual from flying.

“Safety is the biggest and most important concern when medically clearing an individual to fly,” said Lt. Col. Devon Waddell, 49th Medical Group flight surgeon. “We want the aircrew and/or individual to enjoy the flight and be able to accomplish the mission safely.”

After Pearce was medically cleared, he received a briefing for his flight and an aircrew flight equipment fitting for the proper flight attire.

“Having the proper protective equipment fit correctly is a necessity,” said Senior Airman Thomas Deveraux, 54th Operation Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman. “If the PPE doesn’t fit correctly, it can effect the blood flow to your vital organs during a flight.”

Maj. Matthew Marshall, 54th Fighter Group fighter pilot, flew Pearce over Otero County.

“It was an honor to fly Congressman Pearce and showcase the 54th Fighter Group’s mission here at Holloman AFB,” said Marshall. “I believe this type of interaction between branches of government is critical to our nations continued success.”

While soaring the skies, Marshall showed Pearce the F-16’s capabilities. The F-16’s avionics systems include a highly accurate enhanced global positioning and inertial navigation systems, or EGI, in which computers provide steering information to the pilot. The plane has UHF and VHF radios plus an instrument landing system. It also has a warning system and modular countermeasure pods to be used against airborne or surface electronic threats. The fuselage has space for additional avionics systems.

“I am deeply humbled and in awe of the continued deployments and sacrifices the men and women of our armed services are making in order to keep this country safe,” stated Pearce.