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F-35 wing reactivates former squadron

AHFA students fly in KC-135

A 33rd Fighter Wing F-35A Lightning II flies alongside a 6th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, after refueling at Eglin AFB, Florida, June 7, 2021. As part of the program, students were able to take an inspirational flight on a KC-135 and witness aerial refueling of F-35A Lightning IIs and F-22 Raptors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amber Litteral)


As of Aug. 20, 2021, the 60th Fighter Squadron reactivated here under the 33rd Fighter Wing.

The squadron will plan and execute a training curriculum in support of U.S. Air Force training requirements for the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

“Standing up a second F-35 squadron marks a pivotal moment in our Wing’s history as a premier producer of combat readiness,” said Col. Jack Arthaud, 33rd FW commander. “The F-35 is foundational to the Air Force’s future fighter force, and expanding our training capacity helps to ensure our Combat Air Forces are provided with the Airmen and pilots needed to maintain our Nation’s asymmetric competitive advantage…Airpower anytime, anywhere.”

Air Force history was honored as the reactivation will take place on the 75th anniversary of its previous activation, which was reactivated for the first time after the end of World War II on Aug. 20, 1946. Original activation of the 60th FS dates back to 1941.

The 60th FS's heritage includes a Distinguished Unit Citation in 1943, the 1996 Hughes Trophy as the best air defense/air superiority squadron in the U.S. Air Force, and five U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards. Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the “Fighting Crows” provided near constant support for Operation NOBLE EAGLE.

Incremental arrival of additional F-35A aircraft is expected to begin this fall.