Flying High

Col. Donald Lindberg, commander of Det. 1 of Air Force Reserve Command’s 301st Fighter Wing, flew an F-22 sortie for the first time at Holloman AFB, N.M., Jan. 7, thereby moving AFRC one step closer to launching its second F-22 associate unit, the 44th Fighter Group. “It was a great mission,” said Lindberg, adding, “The weather was beautiful. It was a great ride.” Holloman is the third of four operational bases receiving F-22s after Langley AFB, Va., and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. The 44th FG, due to stand up in late summer or early fall, will work side-by-side with Holloman’s active duty 49th Fighter Wing in operating and maintaining two squadrons of F-22s, totaling 40 aircraft. The Reserve wing is expected to be fully operational and capable to deploy four pilots and 75 to 80 maintainers by November. At full strength, it will have about 195 aircraft maintainers, 12 pilots and about 25 people in a medical flight, according to Lindberg. AFRC’s first associate F-22 unit, the 477th FG, stood up at Elmendorf in October 2007. Elmendorf is home to two operational Raptor squadrons, as is Langley. Hickam AFB, Hawaii, the final F-22 operational base under current plans, is set to get one Air National Guard-led Raptor squadron early next decade. (Holloman report)