The U.S. Air Force 502nd Air Base Wing hosted the 62nd Fighter Squadron, an F-35 Lightning II squadron from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, during their training visit to Joint Base San Antonio-Kelly Field from October 15-29. The 62nd FS trained with F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 149th Fighter Wing and the 301st Fighter Wing, and T-38 Talons from the 12th Flying Training Wing. The various units practiced air combat maneuvering, where fighters have to identify “adversary” aircraft using aircraft sensors and maneuver as a formation to win a simulated air battle.
“There are so many units here we can integrate with. We are integrating with the 149th Fighter Wing, across the ramp, and flying with their F-16s. It also gives the student pilots experience integrating with different aircraft. Beyond student training, our instructor pilots can integrate with the F-16s, practicing more complex and advanced tactics which makes all parties involved more proficient. The 502nd Operations Support Squadron has been a big enabler for us,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Smith, 62nd FS commander.
The opportunity to train with the different aircraft here is extremely valuable and more efficient, as training with F-16s and T-38s is significantly cheaper than flying against other F-35s. Whether it’s the fuel personnel, weather, security, fire department, or any of the other 502nd units supporting, Smith recognized how much the support from the 502nd OSS helped his squadron accomplish their training mission. Smith recognizes that this training mission has allowed the 502nd to work with the most advanced fighter in the fleet.
The 502d Air Base Wing is a United States Air Force unit that provides installation support for Joint Base San Antonio. The 502d was activated on 1 August 2009. The wing’s three Mission Support Groups perform the installation support mission at each major installation in the San Antonio area. The mission of the wing is to meet the needs of all three installations of JBSA, their missions, and people and to optimize installation support while maximizing opportunities for greater joint military and community cooperation.