The US Air Force’s 480th Fighter Squadron sent 18 aircraft and 320 airmen from
Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany to sunny Portugal for three weeks this winter. Paulo Mata joined the ‘Warhawks’ at Monte Real.
During the European winter, Monte Real air base offers welcome respite from the harsh weather conditions that can be encountered elsewhere on the continent. The latest 480th Fighter Squadron (FS) detachment patch depicted a weasel – symbolising the squadron’s suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) role – surfing a wave, a reference to the highbreaking waves found at the nearby Nazaré beach. But behind the playful image lay hard work around the clock for the 480th FS during its tenure from February 2 to 22.