HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Twenty-seven Hill maintainers and accompanying support equipment loaded into a C-17 Globemaster III Oct. 13, bound for Northeast Asia’s largest air show to support the F-35A’s first time on Asian soil.
Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, also known as Seoul ADEX 17, offers a venue to deepen U.S. relationships with the Republic of Korea and enhance regional security while also giving 388th and 419th Fighter Wing maintainers a sense of interoperability and cultural awareness by working in another country.
“With this temporary duty, we gain an increased understanding of how other platforms and countries conduct maintenance and daily operations,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Phillips, 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “Boots on the ground in a location other than home gives us breadth and increased understanding we’re able to pass onto peers, subordinates and leaders alike for application in future movements.”
In preparing to take the F-35A to Asia for the first time, the maintenance team focused on daily requirements such as upgrade training, maintenance discipline and operational risk management practices.
“We train like we fight,” Phillips said. “We pride ourselves on by-the-book maintenance, safety and wingmanship. Living these principles every day prepares us for any assignment and complying with our maintenance directives and guidance will always ensure success.”
Air Force officials said participating in Seoul ADEX 17 indirectly supports theater engagement goals and objectives, while further enhancing relations with other Pacific nations. It also provides a unique opportunity for the United States to showcase its aviation expertise and promote strong military-to-military ties with Republic of Korea allies and friends.
Besides the F-35A, other U.S. assets supporting Seoul ADEX 17 include the Air Force F-22, A-10, C-17, C-130, B-1, KC-135, E-3, U-2 and RQ-4. Additionally, the Navy is supporting with one P-8A and the Army is supporting with one CH-47F.
The first operational F-35As arrived at Hill AFB in October 2015. Hill currently has 27 F-35As and will eventually be home to 78 aircraft and three operational squadrons by the end of 2019. The active duty 388th and Reserve 419th FWs fly and maintain the aircraft in a Total Force partnership.