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Wings complete surge, prepare for night flying

  • Published
  • By Micah Garbarino
  • 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing wrapped up a local flying surge last week and are preparing to begin night-flying training next week.

From Sept. 9-13, the wings flew 240 sorties, roughly doubling what they normally fly in a week. The flying surge came on the heels of a base-wide mobilization exercise (one of the largest to date with the F-35A) and is the first surge since the squadrons returned to Hill AFB from deployments in Europe and at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

During the surge, pilots flew routine training missions at the Utah Test and Training Range and maintainers practiced hot-pit refueling, loading munitions, and ensured aircraft were continually ready to fly.

Next week, from Sept. 23-26, the wings will conduct night-flying training, which is a requirement for Airmen to remain combat-ready. It also provides a valuable opportunity to evaluate maintainer’s ability to generate sorties around the clock.

The wings won’t be surging during night operations. Night flying is limited to what is required and the timing is largely dependent on tanker support and air-space availability on the training range. Next week, flying is scheduled to be completed by 11:30 p.m.

The 388th and 419th are the Air Force first combat-capable F-35A units and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of the active duty and Reserve components. The wings now have roughly 70 aircraft, the most since receiving the first F-35A in 2015.