F-35As deployed from Hill Air Force Base conduct first combat strike

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender refuels an F-35A Lightning II above an undisclosed location, April 30, 2019. Photo Courtesy: Hill Air Force Base

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, May 1, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Two F-35As, deployed to the Middle East from the active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings stationed at Hill Air Force Base, conducted an air strike at Wadi Ashai, Iraq, officials said.

A news release from Hill Air Force Base said the deployment Tuesday is in support of Combined Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve.

This strike marked the F-35A Lightning IIs first combat mission, the news release said.

“The F-35As conducted the airstrike using a Joint Direct Attack Munition to strike an entrenched Daesh tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains, a location able to threaten friendly forces,” the news release went on.

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The F-35As, recently deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, joined the Combined Forces Air Component team in the U.S. Central Command area of operations on April 15. In preparation for deployment, crews prepared and trained on the aircraft for the AFCENT mission.

The primary mission of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base is to “rapidly employ combat power with the F-35A Lightning II aircraft worldwide in support of the national defense,” the news release said. There are approximately 1,800 airmen and civilian professionals assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing. The 388th and 419th are the Air Force first combat-capable F-35A units.

The first operational F-35As arrived at Hill in October 2015.

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