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Name (Last, First Middle)Gersten, Peter E.
Branch at time of eventUSAF
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Academy Experiences
Academic Degree MajorBS HumFact USAAFA 1989 MS-AeroSci Embry-Riddle 1996 MS-IntlStratStu NWC 2004 SOS(R) 1993 ACSC(C) 2001 NWC(R) 2004 ExecProg Darden SchofBus,UnivVir 2010
Active Duty AssignmentsPltTng,SheppardAFB,TX;98:InstrPlt/ChWeapons&Tactics310FS,LukeAFB;00:9AFShawAFB;01:ChSpcOpsCoordinatorCellOps,PSAB;02:CCX,Pentagon;04:StuNWC;05:Cmdr,4thTFS,HillAFB,UT;05:J3GlobalOps,NatlMiComdCent,Pentagon;10:Cmdr,432dWg&432AEW,ACC,CreechAFB;DirPlans&Programs,HQ,ACC,JointBase,Langley-Eustis
Civilian Positions
Award Year1999
Award Summary InformationMaj Peter E. Gersten, Class of 1989, is the winner of the 1999 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship for sustained superior performance from January 1997 to March 1999. Air Education and Training Command (AETC) nominated Maj Gersten for his outstanding airmanship, instruction, and vision in all aspects of the Air Force mission ranging from operational training to sustained combat operations. While assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, Maj Gersten flew 115 flawlessly executed combat sorties, logging over 200 combat hours in support of Operations DENY FLIGHT, DELIBERATE FORCE, JOINT ENDEAVOR, and JOINT GUARD. He was the first pilot in the wing to achieve the 100 combat mission mark and maintain a perfect 100% hit rate while employing laser guided weapons and effectively defeating both surface to air missile threats and anti-aircraft artillery. He was the first operational F-16 Night Vision Goggle (NVG) instructor pilot in the entire Air Force and flew the first-ever USAFE F-16 NVG operational combat sortie during Operation DENY FLIGHT, paving the way for operational use of this new vital sensor for the F-16. Maj Gersten led the way in creating and was initial cadre for the F-16 Forward Air Controller¬Airborne (FAC-A) mission at Aviano AB. In three short weeks, he built, from the ground up, the wing's upgrade course syllabus, which became the model for the Air Force. He also spearheaded standardization of FAC-A procedures during active contingency operations. As the 31st Fighter Wing Project Officer and Detachment Commander for the NATO Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) in Fiorennes, Belgium, Maj Gersten supervised and coordinated all (tying maintenance and supply issues for a two-squadron deployment. He served as the mission commander for a joint force employment mission where he planned, briefed, and led a 17-nation package of 26 aircraft. The mission was lauded by TLP staff as exceptional and greatly contributed to enhancing NATO interoperability. In March 1997, he was selected as USAFE Fighter Pilot of the Year. In April of 1997, Maj Gersten attended the USAF Weapons Instructor Course (WIC) at Nellis AFB. At WIC, he won the top academic award, two of his works were published, and he was a Distinguished Graduate. From Nellis AFB, Maj Gersten became an Instructor pilot for the 310th Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, AETC's most comprehensively tasked F-16 squadron. His continued role in the development and integration of weapons and tactics principles into NVG and FAC-A training missions contributed immeasurably to the combat capability of the entire Combat Air Forces (CAF). As a result of his efforts, the 310th Fighter Squadron Is becoming the CAF's focal point and subject-matter expert and Is the sole fighter squadron formally training F-16 pilots for these demanding missions. Maj Gersten is a role model and constant reminder of what an officer, instructor, and fighter pilot is and should be. His only concern is creating a more qualified and capable warrior for the Air Force. He has made tremendous contributions to fighter aviation in the FAC-A and NVG programs for the Air Force. Maj Gersten's far-reaching and sustained efforts have significantly contributed to creating the world's best fighting force, for both day and night.
Involved Crew Members
Burial Site/DateN/A
Aeronautical Speciality RatingCommand Pilot
Notable Military and Civilian Decorations & AwardsDSSM,LOM(3),BS(2),MSM,AM(7),AAM,AFCM(2), Jabara Award
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