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Hill AFB fighter wings continue flying operations amid COVID-19 crisis

A photo of an F-35A Lightning II

Airmen fly and train with the F-35A Lightning II at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, March 12, 2020. Operations continue with measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) --

The active-duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing are continuing to train and fly the F-35A Lightning II despite the current global coronavirus outbreak.

There has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 on Hill Air Force base as of March 25.

As cases continue to spread in the U.S. and more guidelines and restrictions are put in place to prevent the spread of the disease, the wings implemented their own measures two weeks ago. The largest was segmented flying operations.

During segmented operations, the 421st Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Squadron and aircraft maintenance units are being rotated on a weekly basis. When not flying, Airmen are asked to stay at home to the maximum extent possible only going out for essentials: grocery shopping, medical appointments, physical-fitness activities with social distancing.

With the 34th Fighter Squadron already deployed, the work/restricted-movement schedule allows separation between groups of Airmen who may be needed to deploy at any time.

Common areas and shared equipment are also being routinely disinfected and new plane-side preparation procedures between pilots and crew chiefs have been implemented to follow social distancing guidelines.

The 388th FW and 419th FW are the Air Force's first combat-capable F-35A units. They fly and maintain the jet in a Total Force partnership, which capitalizes on the strength of both components.