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For the third time in a year, Utah Airmen deployed to combat

F-35A Lightning II await to taxi at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 20, 2020. Airmen from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings have deployed F-35As into combat three times in 12 months. The group of deployed Airmen is made of pilots for the active duty 421st Fighter Squadron and the Reserve 466th Fighter Squadron, as well as active duty and Reserve Airmen in the 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit. (U.S. Air Force photo)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Residents in northern Utah were awoken to the sound of jet engines flying overhead two weeks ago. At the time, the Hill Air Force Base said the flyover of the jets was “part of a scheduled military operation,” and now we know a little more about where they went.


According to a release from the Air Force, for the third time in the last year, Airmen from the 388th Fighter Wing and 419th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base deployed F-35A Lighting IIs into combat.

They say this latest deployment was of the 421st Fighter Squadron who left Hill Air Force Base on the 20th to assist US Air Force Central Command at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.

“The 421st Fighter Squadron completed their stand up in December and now they’re our latest squadron heading into the fight,” said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander. “This demonstrates the readiness of our Airmen, our weapons system, and the importance of both to the Air Force and our national defense mission. On top of that, add in prepping and training in this challenging coronavirus environment. As leaders, we couldn’t be more proud of our Airmen.”  

The squadron was made of active-duty pilots and maintainers from the 421st and Reserve 466th Fighter Squadrons and Aircraft Maintenance Units as well as personnel in other support functions.

Col. Brian Silkey, the acting commander of the 419th, says he’s proud of what they’re doing.

“I’m extremely proud of our personnel for answering their nation’s call once again, and I’m certain they’ll do an exceptional job. As always, we truly appreciate the sacrifices of their families and civilian employers as our Citizen Airmen step away to serve, especially now, during these challenging and uncertain times.”


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