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144th FW hosts F-35s for dissimilar combat training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mercedes Taylor
  • 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif. -- Pilots from the 194th Fighter Squadron performed two dissimilar aircraft combat training missions with pilots from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, June 4, 2022.

Two F-35 Lightning II and two F-15C Eagles participated in each training mission. The F-35s arrived June 3, 2022 and parked at the Fresno ANG Base’s ramp in preparation for Saturday’s missions, which were conducted during the 144th FW’s regularly scheduled drill.

The integration training consisted of navigating through simulated contested operations and degraded systems. Smaller training interactions like these are excellent practice for larger scale training exercises, and provide experience that pilots need to perform at high levels.

“It was great training with, communicating with and partnership building with the Marines and personnel from the Yuma Air Station,” said Lt. Col. David Allamandola, 144th Operations Flight director of operations.

While the missions were successful and operations went smoothly, they didn’t come without obstacles, including fuel limitations on the installation due to current fuel-system construction requirements.

“The biggest obstacle was the fuel limitation at Fresno,” said Allamandola. “We had to coordinate early with personnel from the Logistic Readiness Squadron’s Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricant shop. There were also added security requirements, which were also addressed early on to ensure smooth operations.”

Despite facing logistical challenges and increased security specifications, the pilots rose to the challenge of successfully training with an active-duty sister service component to maintain high-level skills and gain additional experience.

One of the goals for Allamandola has been to make these types of trainings more routine because the quality of the training is so high.

“This training was a great success with the base coordination here from all shops and units involved,” said Allamandola.