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U.S. Air Force veteran Michael Pietrucha, whose military career has included combat operations over Iraq and Bosnia, will speak on “America’s War in Afghanistan” 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in the auditorium of Lafayette’s Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

A reception will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

Pietrucha was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program at Penn State University in May 1988. He went to undergraduate navigator training at Mather Air Force Base, Calif., graduating first in his class at Electronic Warfare School. Assigned to the F-4G “Wild Weasel,” he was a Distinguished Graduate from the F-4E transition course at George AFB, and went on to become the last graduate of the Wild Weasel School before being assigned to the 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

After two visits to Saudi Arabia, Pietrucha’s tour there was cut short when he was picked to be part of the initial cadre for the last Wild Weasel Squadron, the 561st, at Nellis AFB, Nevada. The youngest instructor on the base, he served in scheduling and weapons until the retirement of the F-4G, and then went directly to the F-15E Strike Eagle, assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. He served as the electronic warfare officer (EWO) for the 494th FS, and later for the 48th Fighter Wing, and in his final year in Europe was the 48th OSS Company Grade Officer of the Year.

In addition to periodic combat operations over Iraq and Bosnia, Pietrucha participated in Allied Force as a mission commander, strike planner, chief of mission planning, and line aviator. He separated from the regular U.S. Air Force on Dec. 31, 1999, and transitioned to the Reserves via the Air National Guard. He is a full-time member of the Air Staff, serving as a rare EWO in the Air Force’s internal strategy, concepts, and doctrine think tank.

Pietrucha has extensive experience in the destruction of enemy air defenses and attack on time-critical targets. He has 1,700 fighter hours as an EWO and instructor EWO in both the F-4G and F-15E. He has accumulated 156 combat missions over Iraq, Bosnia, and Yugoslavia.

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