HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, visited Hill Air Force Base June 12-14 for a first-hand look at the Air Force’s first operational F-35A Lightning II location.
“My primary goal for coming out here is to learn about the F-35A,” Holmes said. “Rather than me telling you about the future of the F-35A, I’m here to learn about it from you.”
Holmes visited several locations that support the stealth fighter, including the 388th Fighter Wing, 729th Air Control Squadron, Utah Test and Training Range Mission Control Center, and Ogden Air Logistics Complex Depot.
He also spoke to the 388th Fighter Wing at an “all-call” where he told members under his command what they can expect of him and why their jobs are important.
The general said his mission as commander is rebuilding the readiness in ACC squadrons, growing leaders who can win in the joint environment and bringing the future faster because there’s no time to wait.
“At Hill, you’re doing all three of those things, because you’re taking a brand new weapons system and you’re making it ready. You’re growing as leaders in the F-35 community, and this is bringing the future faster.”
Holmes explained various threats facing the nation and said U.S. citizens are, “depending on the United States military and depending on you. What it boils down to is the freedoms that most of us have taken for granted our whole lives are at risk. They’re at risk because strong, smart, tough peer countries are willing to push us to the brink of war and maybe past it.”
He said the mission here is critical and he’s relying on the 388th Fighter Wing and the F-35A to maintain the military advantage, and he took his petition to a personal level.
“We ask you to be between the people you care about and the people who want to do us harm,” he said. “Someday, somebody is going to ask you what you did in the Air Force. You’ll be able to say you brought on the F-35A, and figured out how to use it well. And when the time came that you were called on, you were there, and you did your part to restore balance and our freedoms.”
“And for all this, I’m here to say thanks. Thank you for all that you’ve done and for all that you will do. For being part of the total force team, here,” Holmes said. “I’m really proud to be in an Air Force with people like you.”