The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Ariz., conducted its first F-35A student training sortie,
announced base officials.
Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th FW commander and an F-16 pilot, completed the flight on March 18 as part of his upgrade training to join Luke's F-35A instructor cadre ahead of the first class that the formal training unit there is planning to start in early May. "It's important that I complete my flying training here with our airmen, in our airspace, so I could help refine and validate our program," said Pleus. "The F-35 is going to be the backbone of the Air Force's fighter fleet for decades to come and Luke will play a vital role in producing the world's greatest, most lethal F-35 pilots," he said. Luke's first F-35A arrived in March 2014. There are now 20 F-35s on station, including two
Australian airplanes, states the release. Eventually the base will host up to 144 F-35As. The Air Force is working toward having the first combat unit of F-35As
available for combat around August 2016.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who died fighting for their country, just like A1C William Pitsenbarger, an Air Force pararescueman who took part in more than 250 rescue missions before he was killed at the age of 21. His selflessness and valor in the Vietnam War earned him an Air Force Cross and, eventually, a Medal of Honor.
Tweets by @AirForceMag