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388th Maintenance Group reorganizes, stands up four new squadrons

Airman 1st Class Zachary Stiles, 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit BOLT mission systems technician, taxis an F-35A Lightning II fighter jet May 31, 2019, at Aviano Air Base. Airmen from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, are in Europe as part of a Theater Security Package. Currently they are participating in Astral Knight 2019, a joint and multinational exercise that involves airmen, soldiers and sailors from the United States and airmen from Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia. The exercise is an integrated air and missile defense exercise focused on conducting integrated defense of key terrain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jim Araos) (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jim Araos)

(U.S. Air Force file photo by Tech. Sgt. Jim Araos)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – On Nov 6, the 388th Maintenance Group held a joint ceremony here, provisionally standing up four new squadrons as part of a wing-wide reorganization effort.

The new structure aims to streamline administrative and operational control over hundreds of maintainers and their mission, making them more agile and responsive as they maintain, sustain and employ the F-35A Lightning II.

“As a wing, we have been researching, discussing, debating and landing on ideas to improve our organizations and functions to better train and deliver combat capability,” said Col. Steven Behmer 388th Fighter Wing commander. “Optimizing our operations will continue to be a priority for us, and I’m proud of our team.”

In the reorganization, the largest of the maintenance group’s squadrons, the 900-Airman strong 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was decentralized and divided into three smaller squadrons called “Fighter Generation Squadrons.” Each squadron will be aligned with one of the 388th Operations Group’s 4th, 34th and 421st Fighter Squadrons.

“The goals of this reorganization are straightforward – improve our ability to take care of Airmen, improve readiness and increase combat capability,” said Col. Jeremy Anderson 388th Maintenance Group commander. “These smaller squadrons will provide their respective commanders greater span of control, an increased ability to get to know their Airmen and will allow the wing to better leverage the expertise of our senior maintenance officers.” 

The 4th FGS will be commanded by Maj. Cassidy Bair, who is transitioning to the 388th from the Ogden Air Logistics Complex. The 34th FGS will be commanded by Maj. Richard Palz, who formerly commanded the 388th AMXS. The 421st FGS will be commanded by Maj. Steven Ortner, formerly the 388th Maintenance Squadron’s operations officer.

The wing also created a Logistics Support Squadron, made up of 200 Airmen across 14 different career fields. The LSS consolidates the maintenance operations flight, the logistics flight, weapons-load training and quality assurance into one unit that “revitalizes the squadron and provides a singular focus and identity for supply Airmen.”

The LSS will be commanded by Maj. (Lt. Col. select) Caleb Guthmann, who is in the unique position of being the only fighter pilot in the maintenance group. Guthmann has been leading the LSS transition for the last 12 months. 

The FGS model was employed earlier this year at the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., as fighter wings in Air Combat Command are exploring the most efficient organizational structures to improve lethality and readiness.