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In History: 419th becomes first Reserve unit to fly F-35A

The first two operational F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrive at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 2, 2015.

The first two operational F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrive at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Sept. 2, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alex R. Lloyd)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – In more recent history, this week marks five years since the Air Force ushered in a new era of combat air power, when Hill AFB received the first two operational F-35As on Sept. 2, 2015.

Hill's active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing were the first combat-coded units to fly and maintain the Air Force's newest fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

The first two jets were flown to Hill from Lockheed Martin's production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, arriving to a crowd of Utah Airmen and community leaders.

For the next several years, the wings received one to two F-35s per month until completing their fleet of 78 aircraft in December 2019. The wings have since deployed with the jet throughout Europe and Asia for various training, exercises, and the first-ever F-35A combat missions.