Fighter Wing Cover

An F-35A taxis during a combat exercise at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 1, 2019. 

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — For much of the summer, the remaining portions of Hill Air Force Base's F-35 team will be flying out of a home away from home.

While the base's runway is in the midst of a $43.6 million repair and expansion, the 34th Fighter Squadron and 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit will move their F-35A Lightning II operations to Mountain Home Air Force Base Idaho, nearly 300 miles northwest of Hill.

Micah Garbarino, spokesman for Hill's 388th Fighter Wing, said more than 250 airmen from 388th and 419th fighter wings and up to 24 jets will occupy Mountain Home over a two-month period. Hill pilots will continue flying in Idaho until the current phase of runway construction is complete, which is scheduled for early August, Garbarino said.

While at Mountain Home, the squadron will conduct normal operations and fly with other Air Force units. The group is scheduled to fly every weekday that isn't a holiday or scheduled down day. Garbarino said the majority of the flying will take place around the Mountain Home base and a nearby training range, with no flying anticipated near the Idaho capital city of Boise or surrounding areas.

Hill's 34th FS flew F-35s out of Mountain Home during the summer of 2016 while completing a mock deployment.

The base's 4th FS is currently deployed to the Middle East, with the 421st FS deployed to Europe. Garbarino said the triple deployment marks the first time all three squadrons have been gone since the wing first received the F-35A in 2015.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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