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Hill fighter wings to fly F-35s over Utah July 3

Four F-35 Lightning II jets flying in formation

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Winn)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – A 33-year holiday tradition lives on as pilots from the Air Force Reserve 419th Fighter Wing and active-duty 388th Fighter Wing perform flyovers for 12 cities across Utah this Fourth of July weekend.

Spectators may catch a glimpse of four F-35A Lightning II jets in formation between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The jets will fly over the following cities July 3: Clearfield, Henefer, Millcreek, Morgan, Murray, North Salt Lake, Park City, Riverton, Salt Lake City, Vernal, West Jordan, and West Point.

“It’s a real honor to fly this aircraft over Utah,” said Maj. Michael “BAMBI” Oldenborg, pilot with the 466th Fighter Squadron. “We look forward to flying over the Salt Lake Valley in support of the celebration of America, and we’re proud to represent the Air Force Reserve.”

Flying the jets in the morning will be Reserve pilots from the 466th FS led by Oldenborg. Accompanying him will be Maj. Kyle “Moose” Crosby, Maj. Casey “Shotgun” Smergut, and Maj. Justin “Loco” Cleveland.

Another flyover will occur in the evening, with two jets flying over the Stadium of Fire event in Provo, Utah. Known for hosting the largest stadium fireworks in the United States, the event will celebrate its 40th anniversary after being canceled last year due to COVID-19.

The evening flyover will be flown by Capt. Kenneth “Bone” Skelton and Capt. Brendan “Nada” Moran from the 34th Fighter Squadron.

Also working to make the flyovers happen are F-35 maintainers from the 388th and 419th Maintenance Groups.

“We never have trouble getting Airmen to come in on their holiday weekend to work these flyovers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Hartman, 419th Maintenance Group superintendent. “They understand the patriotism of it all, so there’s a lot of enthusiasm for this event.”

Chief Master Sgt. Ben Carson, 388th MXG superintendent, said he takes pride in seeing the jets in the air every Independence Day.

“I want the community to know they can be confident that we’re here for them and always will be,” Carson said. “Our job is to keep these jets flying, and we’re prepared to do that anytime, anywhere.”