Finland Minister of Defence visits the 33rd FW Published March 8, 2022 By 1st Lt. Karissa Rodriguez 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Finland Minister of Defence, Antti Kaikkonen, met with Maj. Gen. Evan Dertien, Air Force Test Center commander, Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, 96th Test Wing commander, and Col. Jack Arthaud, 33rd Fighter Wing commander, during a visit at the 33rd FW, March 8. “The F-35 program has successfully grown to 15 countries with Finland signing in February for the F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighters,” said Arthaud. “Congratulations, and thank you for joining us. The F-35 is an incredible leap in technology, I am excited for our team to show you all the innovative training capabilities we offer.” Minister Kaikkonen, received briefings at the F-35 Academic Training Center about the F-35A Lightning II and the maintenance training capabilities that are offered to service members at the facility. “It is great to be here at the 33rd FW,” said Kaikkonen. “The F-35 is a huge investment for Finland.” “Building on our great F-18 cooperation since the 1990’s, the F-35 program will be a solid foundation for the Finland and Unites States defense relationship in the coming decades.” The tour proceeded with a walk-through of the ATC for a first-hand view of the trainers and devices that the cadre use to train the maintainers through this program. The program offered at this facility trains in maintenance, tactics, development and operations to accelerate learning for all F-35 operators. “It is extremely beneficial that the Finnish military will be training here in the United States. We look forward to the partnerships, the bonds, and everything you will contribute the program.” said Dertien Education and training are foundational responsibilities that fortify the Air Force’s critical role in national defense and global security. The 33rd FW remains the premiere training wing producing combat credible Airmen for America and expects to house training to our Finnish allies in 2025.