Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing deploys 421st Fighter Squadron to Middle East  

  • Published
  • By Micah Garbarino
  • 388th Fighter Wing

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, --  This week, the 388th Fighter Wing deployed a squadron of F-35A Lightning IIs and hundreds of Airmen to support the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

The 421st Fighter Squadron and 421st Fighter Generation Squadron deployed side-by-side as the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

“Deployments are what we train for every day,” said Col. Michael Gette, 388th Fighter Wing commander. “It’s exciting for all of our Airmen to be able to go out and do the job. Despite multiple simultaneous taskings, we got out the door quickly and demonstrated that we can be relied upon. I’m extremely proud of our Airmen, and thankful for the support from the entire team at Hill Air Force Base.”  

As part of the pre-announced Department of Defense deployment, the squadron will help defend interests, promote regional security and safeguard freedom of navigation in the region. In coordination with regional allies, partners and the U.S. Navy, the F-35’s will partner with A-10 and F-16s already in theater helping monitor the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. Central Command statement said.  

“The F-35’s increased capacity and capability will allow the U.S. to fly in contested airspace across the theater if required. This deployment demonstrates the U.S.’s commitment to ensure peace and security in the region, through maritime support and support to the coalition’s enduring mission to defeat ISIS in Syria.”

All of the wing’s fighter squadrons have previously deployed in support of operations in the Middle East. Early last year, the 34th Fighter Squadron deployed to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in support of NATO’s defense posture, and the 421st Fighter Squadron deployed to Anderson AFB, Guam, and throughout the Pacific region, conducting agile combat exercises over the summer.

Hill AFB is home to 78 F-35A Lightning IIs. The 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings are the Air Force's first combat-capable F-35A units, and fly and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components.