HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – The 388th and 419th Fighter Wing Maintenance Groups have been recognized as Air Combat Command’s nominees for the 2020 Clements McMullen Memorial Daedalian Weapons System Maintenance Trophy.
Awarded annually by the Secretary of the Air Force, this award is given to the Air Force unit with the greatest weapon system maintenance record for the prior year. This means that the two maintenance groups’ efforts maintaining and employing the F-35A Lightning II, the Air Force’s newest 5th-generation stealth fighter, were recognized as some of the best maintenance operations in Air Combat Command. As the Air Force’s first operational F-35A units for the active duty and reserve, they will now go on to compete for the title of “Best in the Air Force”.
“I could not be prouder of each and every single one of our Airmen,” Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander, said. “Our maintainers have persevered and overcome every obstacle, deploying F-35 airpower through three combat deployments, multiple training exercises, and the COVID-19 pandemic. This nomination is just a small show that our people are some of the best in the business.”
Next to the 388th Fighter Wing is the Air Force Reserve’s 419th Fighter Wing, which operates alongside the active-duty component in a Total Force partnership, working together to fly and maintain the 78 F-35As stationed at Hill AFB.
“Generating combat airpower is a team effort, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the close relationship that our Fighter Wings maintain,” Col. Matthew Fritz, 419th Fighter Wing commander, said. “This nomination is entirely due to the outstanding work of both our active-duty and Citizen Airmen maintainers. We wouldn’t be competing at the Air Force level if not for their accomplishments.”
Throughout the year 2020, the two maintenance groups, also known as the Total Force Integrated Maintenance Group, were responsible for generating over 9,000 flights and 20,000 flight hours, while simultaneously implementing safety precautions against COVID-19. They were also responsible for supporting and generating airpower across three deployments overseas, dropping 16,000 pounds of munitions and eliminating five high-value targets in support of the missions of Air Force Central Command.
"We’re the Air Force’s only on-call F-35 option, and this nomination further validates our ability to deliver 5th-gen airpower, anytime, anywhere,” Col. Jeremy Anderson, 388th Maintenance Group commander, said.
"I’m extremely proud our TFI maintenance team has achieved this recognition at Air Combat Command and we look forward to the Air Force-level competition,” Col. Brett Newman, 419th Maintenance Group commander, said.
The Air Force level winner for the Clements McMullen Memorial Daedalian Weapons System Maintenance Trophy will be announced sometime in 2021.