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2018 in photos

Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs, assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, conduct flight training operations over the Utah Test and Training Range on Feb 14, 2018. The F-35A is a single-seat, single engine, fifth generation, multirole fighter that’s able to perform ground attack, reconnaissance and air defense missions with stealth capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs, assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, conduct flight training operations over the Utah Test and Training Range on Feb 14, 2018. The F-35A is a single-seat, single engine, fifth generation, multirole fighter that’s able to perform ground attack, reconnaissance and air defense missions with stealth capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Airmen from the active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing return to Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Airmen from the active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing return to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 5 after a six-month deployment to Kadena Air Base, Japan. (Courtesy photo/Michael Christopher)

A "Wall of Fire" explodes during the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show June 23, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The explosion was set up and detonated by Firewalkers International Pyro and was the finale to the F-35A attack demonstration at the Hill Air Show June 23-24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

A "Wall of Fire" explodes during the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show June 23, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The explosion was set up and detonated by Firewalkers International Pyro and was the finale to the F-35A attack demonstration at the Hill Air Show June 23-24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

388th Maintenance group 3-D printer

Tech Sgt. Scott Mathews, assistant manager of the 388th Maintenance Group's Air Force Repair and Enhancement program makes adjustments to a 3-D printer the unit is experimenting with to create pieces and parts faster and more cost-effectively. The program has the potential to not only drive down cost, but increase availability. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Todd Cromar)

Tech. Sgt. Ross Robbins, 419th Maintenance Squadron, inspects 25 mm target practice rounds in preparation for loading into F-35 magazines August 8, 2018 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The F-35A is the only F-35 variant with an internal cannon. It is capable of firing 50 rounds per second. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Tech. Sgt. Ross Robbins, 419th Maintenance Squadron, inspects 25 mm target practice rounds in preparation for loading into F-35 magazines August 8, 2018 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The F-35A is the only F-35 variant with an internal cannon. It is capable of firing 50 rounds per second. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Pilots from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron were the first operational unit to fire the F-35A’s 25 mm cannon in a strafing run during training. The two-ship formation fired on two sets of ground targets on the Utah Test and Training range Aug. 13. Loading and firing the cannon was one of the few capabilities Airmen in the 388th and 419th FWs had yet to demonstrate. The F-35A’s internal cannon allows the aircraft to maintain stealth against air adversaries as well as fire more accurately on ground targets, giving pilots more tactical flexibility.

Pilots from the 388th Fighter Wing’s 4th Fighter Squadron were the first operational unit to fire the F-35A’s 25 mm cannon in a strafing run during training. The two-ship formation fired on two sets of ground targets on the Utah Test and Training range Aug. 13. Loading and firing the cannon was one of the few capabilities Airmen in the 388th and 419th FWs had yet to demonstrate. The F-35A’s internal cannon allows the aircraft to maintain stealth against air adversaries as well as fire more accurately on ground targets, giving pilots more tactical flexibility. (Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Crew chiefs assigned to 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepare to launch F-35A Lightning II fighter jets at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 31, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Crew chiefs assigned to 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepare to launch F-35A Lightning II fighter jets at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 31, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

388th Fighter Wing F-35A maintainers use new tablets to connect with jet.

Aircraft maintainers Staff Sgt. Rio Torres, 388th Maintenance Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Jacob Dean, 419th Maintenance Squadron, use a tablet while performing inspections on an F-35A fighter jet at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 4, 2018. The networked tablets will update work orders and other information in real time allowing maintainers to generate sorties quicker and more efficiently. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

388th and 419th Fighter Wing F-35A load competition

Senior Airman Deneen Clark, 466th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, competes in a load competition at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 12, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A pilot assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing's 34th Fighter Squadron drops a GBU-49 bomb from an F-35A Lightning II Nov. 7. 2018. The 34th FS is the first unit to employ the GBU-49 in combat training. The squadron recently completed a Combat Hammer weapons evaluation exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Pilots say the GBU-49 is effective and accurate and will make the F-35A even more lethal. (Courtesy Photo by 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron)
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A pilot assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing's 34th Fighter Squadron drops a GBU-49 bomb from an F-35A Lightning II Nov. 7. 2018. The 34th FS is the first unit to employ the GBU-49 in combat training. The squadron recently completed a Combat Hammer weapons evaluation exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Pilots say the GBU-49 is effective and accurate and will make the F-35A even more lethal. (Courtesy Photo by 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron)

F-35A pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wing prepare for takeoff as part of a combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The exercise aims to confirm their ability to quickly employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, and demonstrate the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. (United States Air Force photo/Cynthia Griggs)
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F-35A pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wing prepare for takeoff as part of a combat power exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The exercise aims to confirm their ability to quickly employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, and demonstrate the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. (United States Air Force photo/Cynthia Griggs)

The 421st Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, received its first F-35A Lightning II Dec. 12. The squadron is the last of three squadrons in Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing to take possession of combat-ready aircraft, bringing the 388th Fighter Wing closer to full strength. Lt. Col. Richard Orzachowski, 421st FS commander and 1st Lt. Ryan Allen, the squadron's youngest wingman, flew the jets from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas into a snow-covered Hill AFB. The arrival of the first jets in the 421st brings the total number of F-35As at Hill to 52 and is a big step toward the 388th Fighter Wing having a full complement of 78 F-35A Lightning IIs by the end of 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)
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The 421st Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, received its first F-35A Lightning II Dec. 12. The squadron is the last of three squadrons in Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing to take possession of combat-ready aircraft, bringing the 388th Fighter Wing closer to full strength. Lt. Col. Richard Orzachowski, 421st FS commander and 1st Lt. Ryan Allen, the squadron's youngest wingman, flew the jets from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas into a snow-covered Hill AFB. The arrival of the first jets in the 421st brings the total number of F-35As at Hill to 52 and is a big step toward the 388th Fighter Wing having a full complement of 78 F-35A Lightning IIs by the end of 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah; -- 2018 was a busy year for Airmen in the 388th Fighter Wing, filled with many milestones as the wing continues to train and develop combat capability as the Air Force's first operational F-35 Lightning II unit.