Hill F-16s Make Final Deployment

F-16s from Hill AFB, Utah, are on their final deployment before the base fully transfers to F-35s and the jets move on. Eight F-16s and more than 200 airmen from Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing and 419th Fighter Wing are deployed to Albacete AB, Spain, for a NATO Tactical Leadership Programme deployment, which will last until May 19. The annual program focuses on increasing NATO air defense among allies, according to an Air Force release. The exercise includes 11 total countries, with 20-30 aircraft flying daily. “This is the last time the F-16 will deploy with the Hill designator ‘HL’ painted on its tail,” Col. Michael Miles, commander of the 388th Maintenance Group, said in the release. Hill is home to the Air Force’s first operational F-35 squadron, and will eventually have three squadrons by the end of 2019. The F-16s eventually will be assigned to Holloman AFB, N.M., where they will service as fighter production units under Air Education and Training Command.