Library Fact Sheets
33RD FIGHTER WING|
Printable Fact Sheet
The 33rd Fighter Wing is a joint graduate flying and maintenance training wing for the F-35A, B, and C, organized under Air Education and Training Command. It is an associate unit on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., an Air Force Materiel Command base.
The mission of the 33rd FW is to train Air Force, Marine, Navy and international partner operators and maintainers of the F-35 Lightning II.
Personnel and Resources
The wing will reach full strength in 2014, with more than 2,000 military personnel and 260 contractors. Annual capacity is planned for 2,150 pilot and maintenance students. A minimum of 59 F-35A, B, and C aircraft supporting Air Force, Marine, Navy and international partner training will begin arriving in Fiscal Year 2011.
The 33rd FW operates seven squadrons aligned under the Operations and Maintenance Groups. Initially, the 33rd OG will comprise four squadrons: the 58th Fighter Squadron, training Air Force pilots with the F-35A CTOL (Conventional Takeoff and Landing) variant; VMFAT-501, training Marine pilots with the F-35B STOVL (Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing) variant; VFA-101, training Navy pilots with the F-35C CV (Carrier Variant); and the 33rd Operations Support Squadron. The 33rd MXG will comprise three squadrons: the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, providing flightline maintenance support; the 33rd Maintenance Squadron, providing intermediate-level back-shop support; and the 33rd Maintenance Operations Squadron, providing maintenance control and other logistics support functions. An additional "School House" Group is being developed to manage the training systems, support centers, classrooms, simulators, and ground training devices.
33rd Operations Group
The 58th FS "Mighty Gorillas" are authorized to operate 24 assigned F-35A aircraft, planning and executing a training curriculum in support of Air Force and international partner pilot training requirements. The F-35A is a conventional-takeoff-and-landing low-observable multi-role fighter aircraft, designed with 5th-generation sensors and weapons, and is able to perform air superiority, air interdiction and close air support missions. The F-35A made its first flight on Dec. 15, 2006.
The VMFAT-501 "Warlords" are authorized to operate 20 assigned F-35B aircraft, planning and executing a training curriculum in support of Marine and international partner training requirements. The F-35B is a short-takeoff/vertical-landing low-observable multi-role fighter aircraft, designed to provide overwhelming front-line firepower in support of Marine ground forces. The F-35B uses a specially-designed shaft-driven lift fan system to achieve vertical lift and will be able to operate from ship-to-shore and austere battlefield locations. The F-35B made its first flight on June 11, 2008.
The VFA-101 "Grim Reapers" are authorize operate 15 assigned F-35C aircraft, planning and executing a training curriculum in support of Navy aviator training requirements. The F-35C is a carrier-capable low-observable multi-role fighter aircraft, designed to provide unmatched airborne power projection from the sea. The F-35C bears structural modifications from the other variants, necessitated by the increased resiliency required for carrier operations.
The 33rd OSS "Jokers" provides wing-level operational intelligence, weapons, tactics, aircrew flight equipment, training and scheduling support for the flying squadrons.
The 33rd MXG is responsible for the bed-down and operational readiness of the three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 aircraft. Their primary mission is to enable the production of pilots and maintainers for future training and combat units. The group is responsible for the integration and execution of Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, international partner and Foreign Military Sales maintenance policies and procedures.
In conjunction with the joint program office, the 33rd MXG serves a critical role in contract logistic support oversight and military service organic logistics transition plans. The group will have oversight of all aircraft maintenance, sortie generation, weapons loading, munitions operations and logistics integration for the 33rd FW. The group directs the actions of logistics personnel spread across 36 facilities in three diverse squadrons.
The 33rd AMXS "Dragons" provide safe and reliable on-equipment maintenance for the wing's Air Force flying operations with crew chief, weapons, and specialist support.
The 33rd MXS "Wizards" provide both on- and off-equipment maintenance and oversight for the supported squadron's assigned aircraft in the areas of propulsion, avionics, ground equipment, munitions, armament, accessories, fabrication and scheduled inspections to ensure continued aircraft availability.
The 33rd Fighter Wing, known as the "Nomads" for its constant travel throughout the world, has a long, distinguished history. The unit was first activated at Roswell Army Air Field, N.M., Oct. 15, 1947, but can trace its lineage to the 33rd Pursuit Group that served in multiple theaters during World War II.
Throughout the years, the wing has participated in numerous operations worldwide. During the Vietnam Conflict, the wing deployed eight squadrons of F-4 Phantoms, scoring two aerial victories. Beginning in 1979, the wing began operating the F-15 Eagle. In the 1980s, the unit took part in Operation URGENT FURY, the rescue of American medical students from Grenada, and Operation JUST CAUSE, the campaign to remove Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. In the 1990s, the wing joined coalition forces for Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, scoring 16 aerial kills, the most of any single unit. The wing also provided air superiority and air control support for Operations UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, VIGILANT WARRIOR, NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH, DESERT FOX, DENY FLIGHT, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. Sadly, 12 Nomads paid the ultimate sacrifice in the terrorist bombing of Khobar Towers on 25 June 1996. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Nomads provided armed over-watch throughout North America for Operation NOBLE EAGLE, securing two Presidents of the United States, multiple Space Shuttle launches and other high-visibility events.
The 33rd Fighter Wing closed its operations with the F-15 Eagle in September 2009 and became DoD's first F-35 Lightning II training wing on Oct. 1, 2009.
Point of Contact
96th Test Wing Public Affairs Office; 101 West D Ave Building 1; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. 32541