F-35 Complete first Air Force combat deployment

It’s mission complete for the F-35 II’s after they completed their first combat deployment and returned home to Hill Air Force Base. The 5th generation fighter continues to fly missions out of Al Dhafra Air Base in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Subscribe to Dr. Justin Imel, Sr. by Email


I’m incredibly proud to have led this organization during the first F-35 combat deployment in CENTCOM. All we wanted to do was meet the commander’s intent, whether that be the CENTCOM commander, our Combined Forces Air Component commander, or the ground commanders out on the battlefield, to show that we deserve a seat at the table just like any other fighter. Our individual pilots, maintainers and support personnel showed incredible intrinsic motivation and grit, a family and team cohesion that I’ve never seen before in an organization and I couldn’t be any more proud of ’em.

I have to say, I’ve been on three deployments. I was on the last F-16 deployment for the 4th, and now I’m on the first F-35 deployment for the 4th. And I just have to say that this unit is one of the best units I’ve ever worked with. The pilots are the best, the crew chiefs are the best, everybody just works together so well. I mean, the metrics don’t lie, and this aircraft and the people just have performed so well.

The 4th Fighter Squadron has shown, to both our friends and our enemies in the region, that we’re ready across the entire spectrum of military missions that we may be called upon. We perform close air support for our brothers and sisters on the ground. We perform deterrence missions against regional aggressors. We performed partner exercises in order to help build capacity and integrate with our allies and partners in the region. And we’ve even deployed on short notice with a small contingent to an austere remote location in order to show just how nimble, just how agile our squadron is, and how we can hold any conflict in any theater at bay at a moment’s notice.

Within the first couple months of being here and we got all of our jets outfitted to go do a big mission, I come in and I see weapons and everybody busting their butt trying to get all this done, I load the jets up and they’re stacked. There was like four or five of ’em that are completely lined up this mission. And leaving at the end of the day, right when the jets leave, two or three weeks later that I come back, and I have videotape of this and I got to watch it, you see the target line up in their sites and you see flash, cloud, flash, cloud, flash, cloud, flash, cloud. Just seeing that, knowing that that’s what we do and help them to do was actually cool to see hit home what we’re doing out here.

We loaded the munitions when we first got here, it was hectic, and whenever the first aircraft came back and had dropped the very first bomb and it was my bomb, it was huge.

Been priding ourselves on how we’ve been doing out here, because we didn’t know what to expect when we got out here. So, the fact that we have been getting jets in the air and not missing any flights has really been a morale booster for everybody.

The thing I’m most proud of is the team cohesion that the squadron exhibited throughout the deployment. Whether it be the maintainers, the support personnel or the pilots themselves, everybody banded together through the highs and through the lows to carry each other through the deployment, and in the end we’ve been incredibly successful and I’m proud to have extended the legacy of the 4th. And of course, the most important thing to remember is, the Fuujins rock.

Share with Friends:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.