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2021: A Year in Review

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  • 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – For reservists in the 419th Fighter Wing, the year flew by much like the F-35 – lightning fast.

The wing began the New Year by tackling the previous year’s biggest challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic. January’s drill saw the first vaccinations for front-line reservists such as medical and security forces personnel. The vaccine soon became available wing-wide.

Once again, F-35 pilots and maintainers participated in Red Flag, the premier combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada that placed Airmen in combat-realistic, large-scale training scenarios.

Wing leaders hosted distinguished visitors from across the military and local community, including the Air Force Chief of Staff, new members of Congress, and Utah’s governor, among others.

In May, the wing conducted a readiness exercise to test their skills in contested, degraded, and operationally limited environments. Pilots here also regularly tested their ability to fly the F-35 in all-weather conditions with increased night flying.

Those skills came in handy as 419th pilots and maintainers joined their active-duty counterparts in the 388th FW for a deployment to France – their third European deployment with the F-35. They also traveled stateside for Checkered Flag and Combat Archer exercises.

Airmen across the 419th Mission Support Group also supported several deployments, including the logistics readiness squadron as they worked with a special operations group at Hurlburt Field.

The 419th continued to show its solidarity with the local community by providing F-35 flyovers at events across Utah on July Fourth and the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

This year, reservists proved their physical prowess with challenges like a 500-mile bike ride and an elite international competition. But they were also recognized for profound acts of heroism, with two Airmen in the 419th Civil Engineer Squadron receiving the prestigious Airman’s Medal.