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Lisa P. Smith visits the 33rd Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amber Litteral
  • 33rd Fighter Wing

Lisa P. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Product Support, visited the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 16.

The purpose of her visit was to get the “Nomads” prospective on how well the current F-35 Product Support strategy is performing in supporting the mission of developing combat credible Airmen and advancing warfighting capabilities for our next-generation Air Force.

“Meeting face-to-face with our incredible logistics and maintenance force not only gets me out of the office and out of D.C., but more importantly, it presents me with an extremely valuable opportunity to see firsthand the outstanding work our service members are doing,” said Smith. “I appreciate being able to hear what they think a program like the F-35 should be doing next to improve sustainment capabilities for the program.”

Smith began her visit at the 33rd FW headquarters building where she received an overview of F-35 maintenance operations capabilities, training challenges and successes. Along with the wing’s leadership, Smith then traveled to Saylor Hangar, toured an F-35A Lightning II aircraft and was further briefed on engine components and the skills and equipment that were required to stand up independent engine management, and additional maintenance capabilities.

“I truly enjoy the opportunity to have substantive and collaborative discussions with the “Nomad” team on ways the program’s sustainment capabilities can be improved,” said Smith. “Interactions like this go a long way in articulating potential opportunities for innovation from a very important user…the warfighter. Most importantly, these type of engagements highlight the need to strive for improvements in long-term sustainment outcomes that will lead to increased weapon system availability and affordability for the F-35 program.”

Finally, Smith transitioned to the F-35 Academic Training Center (ATC) to further view maintainer and pilot simulator capabilities. The ATC provides academic and simulation training for F-35 pilots, intelligence personnel and maintainers. Students at this facility receive interactive and self-paced lectures on modern, hands-on computer-based systems.

“The F-35 program provides our Airmen with top-level training, creating multi-capable leaders of resilient teams,” said Col. James McFarland. “These types of visits allows us to showcase our tactical expertise and capabilities as a training wing.”

During her tour, Smith coined three 33rd FW Airmen; Airman 1st Class Lynsey Washington, Staff Sgt. Matthew Valentino and Tech. Sgt. Ruther Tovar, in recognition of their outstanding efforts in their respective shops to advance the wing’s training mission.

“It was really inspiring to see firsthand the outstanding work the men and women of the 33rd FW are accomplishing to execute daily missions on some of the oldest F-35s in the fleet,” said Smith. “The Air Force, particularly the logistics community, should be proud of what these Airmen are accomplishing.”

The 33rd Fighter Wing “Nomads” is a graduate flying and maintenance training wing for the F-35A Lighting II. The wing also has two geographically separated organizations at Tyndall AFB and Hurlburt Field, Florida. Annual student training yields on average 58 F-35 pilots, 150 F-35 A/B/C maintainers, 140 intelligence personnel in support of Air Force Special Operations Forces, 48 intelligence personnel in support of F-35 operations and 82 air battle managers in support of Air Force operations.