By Sandy Meyer
Early in August, the U.S. Air Force announced Lt. Col. Kevin “Showtime” Sutterfield’s selection to command the 302nd Fighter Squadron, one of the USAF’s 10 front-line combat F-22 squadrons. A graduate of Bloomingdale Senior High School and the United States Air Force Academy, Sutterfield is an experienced combat aviator with more than 3,000 hours in more than 30 different types of aircrafts. The most experienced of all the F-22 squadrons, the 302nd Fighter Squadron has a proud heritage as one of the original Tuskegee Airman squadrons from World War II fame. As the commander, Lt. Col. Sutterfield will be responsible for preparing and leading airmen into combat operations world-wide in partnership with the 90th and 525th fighter squadrons, also stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
After graduating from the USAF Academy in 1997, Sutterfield was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. and attended pilot training. Sutterfield was then hand-picked to fly the Air Forces’ top air-superiority fighter, the F-15C, for 10 years throughout the Middle East and Asia. In 2004, Sutterfield attended the Fighter Weapons School and in 2007 he was selected to transition to the F-22 Raptor.
Sutterfield and his unit are routinely involved in active and training missions, but operational security concerns prevent the Department of Defense from commenting on specific details about F-22 squadrons and their operations. The details introduced by the USAF Chief of Staff last year are the only specifics that have been approved for release, to date about Sutterfield’s intercept of an Iranian F-4 in March 2013.
“I’m glad I was in the right position, at the right time, and that I was able to safely de-escalate the situation without the use of force,” said Sutterfield.
Sutterfield’s epic flight in a U.S. Air Force fighter jet has been memorialized in a painting that now hangs on the walls of the Pentagon.
Sutterfield has an enduring love of historic aviation which has led to his involvement in with the Commemorative Air Force and the Reno Air Races. Air Dominance Racing, sponsored by Bremont Chronometers, will make its debut in the 51st annual Reno National Championship Air Races on Wednesday through Sunday, September 10-14 where he will fly a 1942 AT-6 Texan.
“It’s a real privilege to fly these amazing aircraft and to be part of this legendary aviation event. For a kid that grew up looking through the airport fence, this is a dream come true,” said Sutterfield.