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Flight operations to resume at Oregon training base

An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle takes off from the Portland Air National Guard Base Oct. 2, 2010. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd)

Thirty F-15C Eagles from the Air National Guard’s Oregon-based 173rd Fighter Wing are scheduled to resume flight operations Thursday after being grounded over pilot safety concerns last week.

“Due to a possible maintenance issue, out of an abundance of caution and concern for air crew safety, we have decided to stand down our flying while we take a closer look and determine the path forward,” said Maj. Nikki Jackson, a spokeswoman for the unit.

The temporary grounding to investigate structural issues didn’t affect training or deployment schedules and has not led to a service-wide inspection of the aging fighter jets.

The Oregon training base houses the only F-15C training schoolhouse in the Air Force for both active duty and Guard pilots.

Last March, Air Force officials announced plans to retire 212 F-15C and 24 F-15D models by fiscal year 2020.

“The F-15C [has] served our nation well, as have its pilots for decades. And it was our air superiority fighter; now F-22 has taken that role,” said Maj. Gen. Scott D. West, director of current operations and deputy chief of staff for operations for the service at the Pentagon.

The single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models entered the inventory in 1979 and have deployed to nearly every theater throughout the world, according to the Air Force.

Since 1976, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Singapore have also operated the aircraft.

Active-duty squadrons of the fighter jets are currently stationed overseas bases RAF Lakenheath, England, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and Kadena Air Base, Japan.

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