Air Force officials activated the newly formed 414th Maintenance Squadron in a ceremony at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. The unit is one of two Air Force Reserve Command squadrons that will partner with the active duty 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson and the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., to maintain those units’ F-15Es and F-16CJs, respectively. “The unfurling of a unit’s guidon is a rare event that many of us have never been a part of before,” said Maj. Lydia Black, who assumed the squadron’s command during the May 26 stand-up ceremony. The 414th MXS, together with its sister squadron, will be part of the new 414th Fighter Group that is due to stand up Aug. 5 at Seymour Johnson. The group is due to add a total of 279 airmen to the maintenance force at the two bases by 2014. (Seymour Johnson report by SSgt. Heather Stanton)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.