Tag Archives: Air Force Reserve Command

388th and 419th Fighter Wing Have Just Staged The F-35’s First “Elephant Walk” With 35 Lightning II Aircraft At Hill AFB

This is the JSF’s first “Elephant Walk”.

According to the Hill Air Force Base FB page this is happening now: F-35A pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wing prepare for takeoff as part of a combat power exercise happening now the airbase in Utah.

We can count as many as 35 F-35 Lightning II aircraft taxiing as part of what is usually dubbed an “Elephant Walk”.

During Elephant Walk exercises military aircraft (usually fully armed – but in the case of the F-35, the aircraft might carry some air-to-air missiles and bombs inside the weapons bays) taxi in close formation or in sequence right before a minimum interval takeoff and, depending on the purpose of the training event they then either take off or taxi back to the apron.

The exercise aims to confirm their ability to quickly employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, and demonstrate the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice.



The 388th Fighter Wing and its Reserve associate 419th Fighter Wing, are the F-35 units that met or surpassed the list of criteria to be considered “combat ready” with the Lightning II back in 2016.

The first squadron declared to be operational (i.e. achieved the IOC) was the 34th Fighter Squadron that was required to have at least 12 airframes ready for deployment operating as a basic close air support and air interdiction and limited SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) platform. Along with other personnel, maintenance and support requirements the Air Force squadron was also expected to ensure that enough pilots are combat ready, and pass proper examination: as of Jul. 27, 2016, when IOC was declared, 21 pilots and 12 F-35A airframes could be deployed in theater. Based on the photographs, the combined 388th and 419th FW have now more than 30 stealth aircraft ready for combat operations.

Image credit: United States Air Force/Cynthia Griggs

Meet the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s First Female F-35A Lightning II Pilot

USAF Reserve Col. Regina Sabric Is Also Commander of 419th Fighter Wing.

Colonel Regina Sabric, callsign “Torch”, of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania has become the first female Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Col. Sabric is also commander of the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB in Utah, a unit she assumed command of in April of 2018.

Col. Sabric brings extensive tactical, combat and even special operations aviation experience to the F-35A and the 419th Wing having well over 2,500 hours flying experience across 10 different aircraft in 22 years. Sabric has flown the T-34, T-39, T-1 and T-37 trainers. She also flew the T-38 Talon in an aggressor simulation role and the AT-38. She has experience in the F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft, including as an instructor in the F-16. Her perspective as a tactical combat pilot in the evolving aerial battlefield includes time flying the MQ-9 Predator remotely piloted aircraft and the secretive C-146 special operations transport when she served as commander of the 919th Special Operations Group. Sabric also served as Chief, Combat Air Forces Requirements for the Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

Her operational experience includes Operations Allied Force and Enduring Freedom, and several deployments for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle, the combined U.S. and Canadian homeland security mission flown over the continental U.S. to provide security against terrorist threats to key infrastructure targets.

Sabric is a 1995 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. She also earned a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies from American Military University.

tps://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/First_Female_Reserve_F35_10.jpg”> Col. Regina Sabric with an F-35A Lighting II of the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah. (Photo: USAF Photo by Todd Cromar.)

[/caption]In her role as commander of the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB she is in command of 1,200 Reserve Citizen Airmen who train in F-35A Joint Strike Fighter operations, maintenance and mission support in addition to a medical squadron that supports the unit. The 419th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB is the only U.S. Air Force Reserve F-35A unit.

“My family can tell you I wanted to be a fighter pilot forever. I’ve always been fascinated by air and space.” Sabric told the Air Force Reserve Command media. “My dad was a private pilot, so he took me to an airshow when I was a little girl, and I remember looking up at those planes and being amazed. Ever since then I knew I was going to be a pilot.”

As a teenager, Regina Sabric went to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, an immersive educational experience for aspiring young women and men. She went on to earn a private pilot’s license during college.

Sabric regards her extensive education, career and experience in aviation as an advantage, “I don’t have a typical flying career. I’ve had the opportunity to bounce around with different aircraft and mission sets. I think it’s made me a better pilot because I’ve had the opportunity to experience so much outside the fighter world.”

Given Col. Sabric’s eclectic background in aviation and her command of the 419th Wing along with her qualification in the F-35A, she joins the most elite level of combat pilots in the world. There are only three women flying the F-35A Lightning II in the active duty Air Force. Col. Sabric is the first and only woman currently in the Air Force Reserve flying the F-35A. She is reserved about her experience though, especially in the F-35A.

“I’m still new in the airplane. Every sortie you learn something new, so as I continue to fly I’ll continue to learn. What the F-35A brings to the fight now, it’s lightyears beyond fourth-generation aircraft.”

U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy Performs Nose Gear Up Landing. Again..

It’s the second time a Super Galaxy lands on nose after gear malfunction in less than one year.

On Mar. 15, an Air Force Reserve Command C-5M Super Galaxy performed an emergency landing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas: a failure caused the airlifter to land on its nose, skidding three-quarters of the way down the 11,500-foot runway before coming to a stop.

There were 11 personnel on board, but no injuries were reported.

Noteworthy, although this was the first incident of this kind for the 433rd Airlift Wing, it’s the second time a C-5M lands on its nose in less than one year. Indeed, a Super Galaxy performed a nose gear up landing at Rota Air Base in Spain in May 2017.

As a consequence of a second malfunction of a C-5’s nose landing gear (occurred on Jul. 15), the U.S. Air Force initially grounded 18 Galaxy cargo planes based at Dover Air Force Base (out of 56 flown by the Air Mobility Command) pending further investigation, on Jul. 18. But, on the very next day, AMC’s Gen. Carlton Everhart ordered a fleetwide assessment of the command’s 56 C-5s.

During the assessment, maintainers found that the ball-screw drive assembly was causing issues with the extension and retraction of the nose landing gear.

The ball-screw assembly was replaced for all C-5s in the fleet (including the aircraft involved in the latest incident) and the Super Galaxy cargo aircraft slowly returned to service: the grounding was lifted for 5 C-5s at the beginning of August; at the beginning of September 2017, 38 out of 56 aircraft were ready to fly again.  On Sept. 18, the first C-5M to ever land at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten, as part of the Hurricane Irma relief efforts, was the example 86-0020, the same involved in a nose gear up landing at Rota Air Base, on May 23, 2017.

Initial information suggests last week’s incident at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is an isolated event, AMC spokesperson told Air Force Times. However, the frequency of nose gear issues (three in less than one year, with two of those causing nose gear up landings) seems at least a bit unusual.

For some details about Galaxy historical nose gear up or belly landings, read this post we published a few months ago.

Top image credit: screenshot from KCBY-TV