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Hill fighter wings continue flying operations amid COVID-19 crisis

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  • By Air Force photos by Todd Cromar
  • 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing are continuing to train and fly the F-35A Lightning II here despite the current global Coronavirus outbreak.

There has been one confirmed case on Hill AFB, but none in the fighter wings. 

As cases continue to spread in America and more and more local and national guidelines and restrictions are put in place to prevent the spread of the disease, the wings implemented their own measures two weeks ago. The largest was "segmented" flying operations. 

During segmented operations, the 421st Fighter Squadron and 4th FS and aircraft maintenance units are being rotated on a weekly basis. When not flying, Airmen are being asked to stay at home to the maximum extent possible -- only going out for essentials: grocery shopping, medical appointments, physical-fitness activities (with social distancing). Reserve pilots in the 466th FS and AMU are alternating flying operations as well.

With the 34th FS already deployed, this work/restricted-movement schedule allows separation of time and distance between groups of Airmen who may be needed to deploy at any time.  

Common areas in the squadrons and shared equipment are also being routinely disinfected and new plane-side pre-flight procedures between pilots and crew chiefs have been implemented to follow social distancing guidelines. 

The 419th FW plans to hold its upcoming Unit Training Assembly weekend April 4-5 to conduct flying operations with a small number of mission-essential personnel.

The active duty 388th FW and 419th FW  are the Air Force's first combat-capable F-35A units. They fly and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of the active duty and Reserve components. 

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