The 4th Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Fighting Fuujins’ and 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) received a first F-35A at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, last Wednesday, September 27.
The latest Lightning II to arrive at Hill was tail number 5133. The aircraft was flown in by Lt Col Yosef Morris, 4th FS commander, before being directed to its parking spot by Staff Sgt Timothy Ericksen, 4th AMU dedicated crew chief for the jet.
Currently the 4th AMU has maintenance control over six aircraft from the parent 388th Fighter Wing’s (FW’s) 34th FS, and 4th AMU personnel received training from the 34th AMU.
“This jet marks the end of an era and the start of the future for the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings,” said Lt Col Morris. “Both wings are now one hundred per cent F-35 units, with the last F-16s leaving the base last week. We established a long, proud history of F-16 operations, supporting our country around the world for four decades. The arrival of the first 4th Fighter Squadron F-35 is the beginning of the next 40-year chapter for the Fuujins.”
The first operational F-35As arrived at Hill AFB in October 2015. Hill currently has 27 F-35As and will eventually be home to 78 aircraft and three operational squadrons by the end of 2019. The 388th and 419th FWs fly and maintain the aircraft in a Total Force partnership, which combines active-duty and Reserve components.