Hill fighter squadron grounded by budget cuts returns home

Apr 23 2013 - 6:12am

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- As airmen from Hill Air Force Base's 4th Fighter Squadron trickle in from a deployment to Asia this week, their jobs will likely be a little different for the next little while.

Approximately 150 airmen from the fighter squadron returned to Hill on Monday after a six-month deployment to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Another 12 pilots and their jets assigned to the squadron are expected to arrive sometime later this week.

Andrea Mason, 388th Fighter Wing spokeswoman, said the group will get two weeks off from work to spend time with their families.

But as the group settles back into life at home base, flights associated with the squadron will be grounded for the rest of the fiscal year because of automatic government spending cuts known as sequestration.

Mason said air crew and maintainers will use flight simulators and academic training to maintain basic skills and knowledge of their aircraft.

Air crews will also complete ground training as funding allows, conduct non-flying exercises and study mission-related material and guidance.

Maintainers will complete upgrade training and clear up a backlog of scheduled inspections and maintenance to the extent possible given budget impacts in other areas, such as the supply of spare parts.

Barring any changes to current levels of funding, the grounding will remain in effect for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, which ends Sept. 30.

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