The first two F-35A jets have completed training missions at Hill Air Force Base. From the Standard Examiner:
On Sept. 17, Lt. Col. George Watkins, commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron, and Maj. Brad Matherne, assistant director of operations for the squadron, flew the first F-35A “sorties” from Hill. According to the 388th Fighter Wing, the pilots conducted “mission qualification training,” which included weapons employment, familiarization with the Utah Test and Training Range and other mission proficiency exercises.
After a nearly six-year process, Hill received the two jets, tail numbered HL 5071 and HL 5072, on Sept. 2.
The planes are flown and maintained by the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings. The base will eventually have 72 Lightning IIs, divided among three fighter squadrons. The planes will continue to come to Hill at a rate of one to two aircraft per month until 2019. The jets are flown in from manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas aeronautics plant.