Rude Awakening

The Air Force will activate the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, as part of the base’s transition from F-16 to F-35A operations, according to a base release. The unit, known as the Rude Rams, stood down in summer 2010 as part of an Air Force-wide restructuring effort that saw Hill lose 24 of its F-16s, leaving a force of 48 fighters there. Now, with plans to establish the Air Force’s first F-35A operational location at Hill with 72 combat-ready jets, the 34th FS is returning, states the release. The squadron will be one of three Active Duty units, along with the 4th FS and 421st FS, within the 388th Fighter Wing that will fly F-35As with the support of members Air Force Reserve Command’s 419th FW. The 34th FS traces its lineage to October 1944 at Seymour Johnson Field, N.C., states the July 2 release. Its airmen operated P-47 Thunderbolts in the Western Pacific. Hill is scheduled to receive its first F-35A in September and have 15 jets on hand by August 2016 when the Air Force aims to commence F-35A operations. (For more on Hill’s shift to the F-35A, read Building Homes for F-35s from Air Force Magazine’s March 2015 issue.)