Son of local Picayune resident rewrites aviation history books

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Working with the most advanced and lethal fighter aircraft in the world has gained the son of a Picayune resident quite a bit of attention over the past several months. It seems that just about everything he does lately finds him involved with rewriting the aviation history books.

Air Force National Guard Tech. Sgt. Roy A. Perkins, son of Anna D. McCormick of McCormick Lane, Picayne, is an F-22 specialist with the F-22 Raptor, the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft. Perkins is a member of the 27th Fighter Wing, one of only two Raptor units currently operational within the Air Force.

Perkins, who graduated in 1988 from Slidell High School, La., and received an associate degree in 2004 from the Community College of the Air Force, takes care of the world’s most sophisticated and deadly fighter aircraft that integrates the latest avionics, stealth and super cruise capabilities. “I maintain, troubleshoot, and repair all of the avionic, electrical and environmental systems on the aircraft to include, radar, flight controls, data link, communication, navigation, electrical power generation and distribution, liquid and forced air cooling, electronic warfare and many others.

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Over the past several months, Perkins and his fellow Raptor crewmembers have been rewriting the history books with a variety of firsts, not only for the F-22, but in many cases performing feats unattained in the history of aviation.

Those feats range from dropping weapons at supersonic speeds from 50,000 feet, to testing new bombs that can hit 400 percent more targets than they were previously capable of reaching, to flying and fighting in joint exercises with capabilities never before seen by aircraft of any kind.

Perkins is a Virginia Air National Guard member who is normally assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing out of Richmond, Va.

“As a member of the Air National Guard, the mission of the 192nd Fighter Wing is to augment the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley as the units blend together. Langley is home to the 27th Fighter Wing, which is the first operational squadron of F-22’s,” he explained. “The 192nd will support the 27th during day-to-day flying operations and deployments worldwide.”

While life for Perkins as an F-22 specialist is quick-paced and hectic, he finds time to enjoy the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. “As a former active duty airman of four years, and a guard noncommissioned officer of 13 years, experience is useful to convert to the new jet. With family in the area, the move will be positive as I plan to work the aircraft and supervise for many years to come,” said Perkins.