A general’s dream comes true

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jamal Sutter
Brig. Gen. David Goldfein, 49th Fighter Wing commander, flew the F-4 Phantom for the first time Dec. 20, 2007, at Holloman Air Force Base.

Though this was a first for the commander, it wasn't a first for the Goldfein family.

"This is a dream come true for me because my dad flew the F-4 in Vietnam," said General Goldfein. "This was his combat airplane. This is something I always wanted to do."

His father, retired Col. Bill Goldfein, flew the F-4 during his days with the 555th Fighter Squadron and had more than 2,000 hours of flight, said General Goldfein.

General Goldfein commanded that same squadron while stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy, from June 1998 to July 2000. It was there where he led the first mission of Operation Allied Force.

General Goldfein has more than 3,900 flying hours in the T-37, T-38, F-16C/D and F-177A and found the F-4 to be very similar to the other aircrafts he's flown.

"There're basics about flying airplanes that don't change regardless of the model or type of airplane," he said. "The basics of taking off, handling the airplane, working the controls, flying formation, and flying low level actually felt very comfortable."

General Goldfein flew the F-4 alongside Lt. Col. Joel Rush, Detachment 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron commander.

"It was a real treat to be able to facilitate this, make it happen, and let him fly the F-4," said Lt. Col. Rush. "We're a tenant unit here. It's important to be able to fly the host wing commander, let him see part of what our operation is about and give him a visual image of what we do out here."

When asked what will be the first thing he'll do now that he's flown the F-4, General Godlfein's answer was simple: "I'm about to call dad and tell him, 'Hey dad, you've got nothing on me.'"