HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – On a typical unit training assembly weekend, better known as a UTA, nearly 1,300 reservists assigned to the 419th Fighter Wing gather here to train in a diverse range of specialties. From F-35 operations and maintenance to civil engineering, medical and more, the once-monthly UTA is a staple in the life of an Air Force reservist.
However, due to growing concerns of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this month’s UTA has been scaled down to include mission-essential personnel only.
Col. Regina Sabric, 419th FW commander, says this minimally manned weekend is meant to balance safety while maintaining crucial combat readiness. Units throughout the Air Force are continuing operations that have been deemed vital to national security, which includes the F-35 mission at Hill AFB.
“Our local communities, our Airmen, and their families are our top priority and we are doing everything to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” she said.
Wing personnel have been practicing social distancing and regularly disinfecting work areas, aircraft, and equipment during routine weekday operations and this same pattern will take place over the UTA.
A handful of Airmen outside of operations and maintenance will also be on duty this UTA to take part in mandatory pre-deployment activities and assessments to include medical screenings, combat arms training, and mobility and equipment distribution.
“Given everything that’s going on, we still have to take care of Airmen who are slated to deploy in the future, so we’ll have a small staff here to issue standard deployment gear to include uniforms, vests, and helmets,” said Master Sgt. Bernadette Cassity, supply superintendent in the 419th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
The majority of the wing’s remaining members have rescheduled this month’s training weekend to alternate dates over the course of the next several months. Some will complete limited training via virtual computer-based telework options.