The 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base is getting a new commander as they begin to transition from the F-16 to the new state of the art F-35 Lightning.
Col. Brad Lyons will be taking over from Col. Lance Landrum as the commander of the 388th Fighter Wing. Lyons will be in charge of the difficult task of preparing the fighter wing for accepting, operating, and maintaining the first F-35s that are scheduled to begin arriving in August.
“You know, I’m sure we’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get through those," Lyons says. "And as you heard from Gen. Nowland, this airplane is not just a great airplane for the Air Force. It’s really going to be the future and it’s going to be a great airplane for our nation.”
The 388th fighter wing is also in charge of managing the Utah Test and Training Range. Lyons says the F-35 requires a lot of airspace to perform training tasks, and the Test and Training Range is critical for its development.
“That airspace, what I can tell you, it is absolutely critical," he says. "It’s not just to us, it’s not just to the Air Force or to the local community, but it’s absolutely critical to the defense of America. Because we need to train our pilots and we need to be able to do the unique things that this airplane can do.”
Currently the 388th maintains and operates 54 F-16s. When the transition is complete, they will have 72 F-35s.