HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --
Senior Airman Thomas Rich, a crew chief in the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, signals to an F-35A Lightning II pilot during launch procedures here April 10.
The 419th Fighter Wing’s unit training assembly, or UTA weekend, is a monthly drill where nearly 1,300 Air Force Reserve personnel gather at Hill to remain proficient in their duties, hone their skills, and ensure they are ready to deploy.
About 80 percent of 419th FW personnel are part time, working here a minimum of one weekend a month, plus two weeks a year – and most of them live, raise families, and have civilian jobs in northern Utah. Part-time F-35 pilots, many of whom also work for commercial airlines, must often be here during the week to maintain proficiency in the Air Force’s newest fighter jet.
Most of the wing’s full-time reservists work in F-35 operations or maintenance and are critical to the day-to-day flying mission at Hill, working side by side with their active-duty counterparts in the 388th Fighter Wing.