Hill Air Force Base shows off full strength and combat readiness

Jan 6, 2020, 2:22 PM
The 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base showed that they are ready to deploy dozen...
The 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base showed that they are ready to deploy dozens of jets at one time. Today an exercise launched one F-35 after another in a row. Photo: Mary Richards, KSL NewsRadio

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base showed Monday that they are ready to deploy dozens of jets at one time. The base launched an exercise with one F-35 taking off after another in a row.

In total, the base at Hill has 78 F-35s. Some of those are in the Middle East right now. But 52 of them took off in this demonstration.

This combat power exercise was to practice for their upcoming 2020 air show season. But, Colonel Michael Ebner says it also had another purpose.

“The message is not just to potential adversaries, but it’s also to our nation’s leadership,” Ebner said. “That they can count on the 388th Fighter Wing to support the combat power that they plan and require us to provide.”

Ebner says this exercise isn’t in response to recent events but has been in the planning stages for a while now. He said the F35s first started coming to the Hill four years ago.

“It’s been thousands of people — thousands and thousands of hours — to get to where we are here at Hill Air Force Base,” Ebner said. “But it’s been an effort by Americans all across the country.”

Ebner says their mission is to rapidly deploy combat power anywhere in the world. This exercise helps to show national leadership that they’re ready.

“It becomes a concerted effort to be able to launch and to have them all ready at this one particular time,” Ebner said. “It does become a little bit of a challenge to launch that percentage of our fleet at once.”

Residents of Davis County can expect to see more exercises like this throughout the week as the F35 Demo Team will continue to fly throughout the week around Northern Utah. However, none will match the magnitude of Monday’s launch.

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Hill Air Force Base shows off full strength and combat readiness