First F-35 training commander: ‘This jet is our future’
Five months of flying the Air Force’s newest fighter jet has left one Airman convinced of the aircraft’s substantial combat capability.
Lt. Col. Lee Kloos is the commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron, the Defense Department’s first F-35 Lightning II training squadron, located at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
Kloos, who spent more than 2,100 hours flying F-16 Fighting Falcons, said many of America’s fighter jets are aging and the costs associated with maintaining and upgrading them increases with each passing year.
The F-35 is the world’s first multirole stealth fighter that is designed to replace aging stalwarts such as the Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier II.
As an aircraft that meets the mission needs of multiple services in addition to those of international partner nations, the F-35 provides a support network that enables many opportunities for cost sharing and savings, Kloos said.
But long-term savings are just one of the benefits to training with pilots from other services and other countries.
Kloos said fighter pilots from different services use different terms even for things as basic as flying in formation.
Eielson Air Force Base volunteers recently donned hard-hats and wielded construction tools to help build housing for local Alaskans through the nonprofit program Habitat for Humanity, which operates on a global scale to build houses for low-income families.
The sun was shining almost as brightly Sept. 20 as the smiles on the faces of hundreds of children stepping onto a C-17 Globemaster III for the first time. The children arrived at the Africa Aerospace and Defense Exposition to participate in a youth development program.
Two Airmen from the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were recently coined by wing leadership for their work in helping to prevent the spread of a potentially disastrous fire involving a B-52H Stratofortress.
With tsunami threats recently pervading the Asia-Pacific region, the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base has been actively exercising its capabilities of providing evacuation support to neighboring bases.