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NEWS | Nov. 5, 2021

502nd Air Base Wing hosts F-35 squadron for training

By Jason Wilkinson 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 502nd Air Base Wing hosted the 62nd Fighter Squadron, an F-35 Lightning II squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, during their training visit to Joint Base San Antonio-Kelly Field from Oct. 15-29.

The 62nd FS trained with F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 149th Fighter Wing and the 301st Fighter Wing, and T-38 Talons from the 12th Flying Training Wing. The various units practiced air combat maneuvering, where fighters have to identify “adversary” aircraft using aircraft sensors and maneuver as a formation to win a simulated air battle.

“There are so many units here we can integrate with,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Smith, 62nd FS commander. “We are integrating with the 149th Fighter Wing, across the ramp, and flying with their F-16s.”

Smith explained that the opportunity to train with the different aircraft here is extremely valuable and more efficient, as training with F-16s and T-38s is significantly cheaper than flying against other F-35s. It also gives the student pilots experience integrating with different aircraft.

“Beyond student training, our instructor pilots can integrate with the F-16s, practicing more complex and advanced tactics which makes all parties involved more proficient,” Smith said.

Smith was grateful for the support and assistance that the 502nd provided.

“The 502nd Operations Support Squadron has been a big enabler for us,” Smith said.

Whether it’s the fuel personnel, weather, security, fire department, or any of the other 502nd units supporting, Smith recognized how much the support from the 502nd OSS helped his squadron accomplish their training mission.

“We are just being a gracious host and assisting with whatever they need from airfield operations to weather forecasting,” said Yolanda Seals, 502nd OSS director of operations. “It’s awesome we have a facility and a great team that can support various missions in multiple ways.”

Seals and Smith both recognize that this training mission has given the 502nd an opportunity to work with the most advanced fighter in the fleet.