The Florida Air National Guard will begin flying and maintaining CV-22 Ospreys alongside the Active Duty 1st Special Operations Wing, setting up a new association at Hurlburt Field, Fla., officials announced. The classic association will “capture separating aircrew to provide an enduring operational capability, and supplement the maintenance force to increase aircraft utilization rates,” Florida ANG headquarters Det. 2 Commander Col. David Silva said in a release. A total of eight aircrew and 22 maintainers will augment the Active Duty 8th Special Operation Squadron and 801st AMXS at Hurlburt. “About 30 percent of the Guardsmen will be full-time, and the remaining 70 percent will be drill status Guardsmen,” added Silva. Aircrew and maintainers from the New Mexico ANG’s 150th SOW also support the CV-22 mission, teaming with the Active Duty 58th SOW at Kirtland AFB, N.M., according to the unit.
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.