A decorated former US Air Force pilot said he would fly fighter jets for Ukraine if necessary.
Retired Lt. Col. Dan “Two Dogs” Hampton discussed the potential of the US F-16 in the war over Ukraine.
“I’ll even go myself, you can count on me,” the retired lieutenant colonel told a VoA interview.
Dan Hampton, a retired lieutenant colonel known as the US Air Force’s “deadliest F-16 pilot,” said he was ready to fly planes for the Ukraine military himself if necessary in an interview with Voices of America.
The highly decorated pilot, known as “Two Dogs,” spent 20 years in the Air Force, fought in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, and Iraq wars, and is a New York Times bestselling author for his memoirs from his time in the military.
Speaking from a base in Arizona, Hampton discussed his thoughts in the long-form interview on training F-16 pilots to fight in the Ukraine war, the advantages of using the jets, and whether the Ukraine government should hire private pilots as the war continues into its second year.
The F-16, a US single-seat fighter jet, is in the news after President Joe Biden recently said he would not supply the planes to Ukraine for the time being. Both Democratic and Republican Senators, however, have pushed the Pentagon to send the jets that “could prove to be a game changer on the battlefield,” per Politico.
Earlier this week, Poland became the first NATO country to confirm it would send MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine.
“No one has ever won a war from the air,” Hampton asserted, “You can’t win a war from the air, but you can lose a war if you don’t control the airspace,” he told VoA, which the US government helps fund.
Hampton told the interviewer the Ukrainian government could hire private contractors who already know how to fly F-16s, which “buys you time” and “helps you win the war.”
“I’ll even go myself. You can count on me,” Hampton said.
Retired Lt. Col. Hampton, 58, flew 151 sorties in his distinguished career between 1986-2006. He is the most decorated flyer since the Vietnam War, according to VoA, winning the Purple Heart, four Distinguished Flying Crosses for extraordinary heroism, and eight ” Air Medals” of the US Air Force for valor during combat operations in the air.
The retired lieutenant colonel reiterated his commitment to the Ukrainian cause after explaining he thought it would be faster to send pilots who know how to fly rather than “sending Ukrainian pilots to the US and sending them to a training program.”
Russia’s Su-35 fighter is “junk,” says the former pilot
Two Ukrainian pilots were recently sent to Arizona, according to NBC News, for US authorities to determine how long it would take to train them to fly the jets, as well as to improve their skills.
Calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “black and white” issue of “good versus evil,” Hampton said he hoped that “governments that can provide these services should.”
“I will even go myself,” he repeated, “I will be number one. You can count on me.”
Hampton also compared F-16 planes – a multirole fighter that can attack air-to-ground and air-to-air – to the Russian Su-35 jets, saying the Russian model being used in the war “looks good at air shows” but that they are, in his opinion, “junk.”
Meanwhile, a US Air Force official said that fighter jets were “worthless” over Ukraine earlier this week because both sides of the conflict have mastered long-range missile defense, Insider previously reported.
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