Year in review: Top Hill stories from 2023

  • Published
  • By Hill Public Affairs staff

HILL AIR FORCE BASE – In 2023, Hill AFB continued to be a vital part of the United States Air Force. The base is home to several units that played a critical role in the Air Force’s mission to protect the nation.

Throughout the year, Hill AFB was the site of numerous training exercises, deployments, and other activities. From the deployment of the F-35A Lightning II to Kadena Air Base, Japan, by the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings to the recovery of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission at the Utah Test and Training Range, Hill AFB was at the forefront of many important events. Additionally, the base achieved high marks on the Command Cyber Readiness Inspection and launched the Ready Airman Training program to prepare Airmen for the challenges of the future.

The following 12 noteworthy events and accomplishments are just some of the many stories that made 2023 a memorable year for Hill AFB. For more information on these and other stories, please visit

Preparing for a new era: Ready Airman Training

As the Air Force transitions to the Air Force Force Generation, or AFFORGEN, deployment model, leaders across Hill Air Force Base are taking steps to ensure their units are ready for the high-end fight.

Senior Master Sgt. James Mitchell, 75th Comptroller Squadron and Wing Staff Agencies senior enlisted leader, incorporated Ready Airman Training into his unit’s training tempo when the concept was launched last October, preparing Airmen in areas such as combat arms and Tactical Combat Casualty Care. Read more here.


Air Force conducts Sentinel static fire test

The Air Force and Northrop Grumman conducted a static fire test March 2 for the LGM-35A Sentinel weapon system at Northrop Grumman's facility in Promontory, Utah.

This open-air test is the first in a series of static fire tests that will validate the design and performance of Sentinel's three-stage propulsion system during its development. The Stage-1 solid rocket motor (SRM) tested here is the largest of Sentinel's three stages and the first SRM to fire upon missile launch. Read more here.


Hill scores high marks on CCRI

Hill Air Force Base received an excellent rating on its recent Command Cyber Readiness Inspection.

The inspection is administered by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and determines Hill’s authority to operate the network. According to inspection leads Scott Stein and Amber Poll of the 75th Communications and Information Directorate, Hill’s passing score was among the highest scores given in several years. Read more here.


New F-35 canopy facility provides production boost

The 531st Commodities Maintenance Squadron officially opened their new 24,000 square-foot F-35 canopy shop in building 850 on May 17, allowing for future forecast needs by tripling the former workspace.

The shop meticulously refurbishes to perfection, canopies for the Air Force’s F-35A conventional takeoff and landing stealth fighter, along with the Navy’s F-35B and Marine F-35C short takeoff and vertical landing models. Read more here.


Ogden ALC achieves ISO 50001 recertification

The Ogden Air Logistics Complex, a critical hub for the Air Force’s maintenance, repair, overhaul, and sustainment operations, announced this week it has achieved recertification of ISO 50001, the international standard for applying organizational best practices in energy management.

Compliance with these standards demonstrates the Air Force’s continued commitment to implementing energy-efficient technologies and practices while decreasing energy consumption, reducing its carbon footprint, and minimizing waste. Read more here.


Hill Fighters participate in nationwide centennial celebration

To celebrate 100 years of air refueling, two Hill F35A fighters performed air refueling operations with a KC-135 Stratotanker from the Utah Air National Guard above several Utah locations June 27.

The statewide flyovers, stretched from Logan to Cedar City as part of Operation Centennial Contact, as more than 150 aircraft flew in all 50 states, to pay tribute to the first successful air refueling on June 27, 1923. Read more here.


Hill’s 388th Fighter Wing deploys 421st Fighter Squadron to Middle East 

This week, the 388th Fighter Wing deployed a squadron of F-35A Lightning IIs and hundreds of Airmen to support the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

The 421st Fighter Squadron and 421st Fighter Generation Squadron deployed side-by-side as the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

“Deployments are what we train for every day,” said Col. Michael Gette, 388th Fighter Wing commander. Read more here.


What is Project One?

Combat readiness is a team sport, and we need all Airmen performing their best so we can “Fly, fight and win…Airpower anytime, anywhere.” When the nation needs us, we won’t have time to get ready; we must be ready. Creating and sustaining the everyday readiness we need is hard. It is easy for life’s struggles to distract Airmen from maximizing their potential. The challenges they face increase when they feel they’re facing them alone. Project One increases readiness by strengthening Airmen’s sense of belonging and community. Read more here.


Utah Test and Training Range has vital role in OSIRIS-REx recovery mission

Members of the 388th Fighter Wing’s Utah Test and Training Range are playing a key role in recovering NASA’s first-ever asteroid sample return on Sept. 24.

Launched in 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, travelled more than 200 million miles from earth to collect samples from the asteroid Bennu.

For the last three years, the capsule, which is carrying an estimated 8 ounces of material collected from the asteroid’s surface in 2020, has been making its way home – to a swath of desert on the Utah Test and Training Range. Read more here.


309th EMXG receives OSHA Star recertification: A testament to their commitment to safety

The 309th Electronics Maintenance Group at Hill Air Force Base has been reapproved as an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program Star participant, OSHA’s highest level of recognition.

To earn VPP Star certification, an organization must meet demanding requirements such as maintaining a comprehensive safety and health program, undergoing periodic OSHA onsite evaluations, submitting annual data, and involving workers and managers in efforts to continuously improve their safety and health programs and performance. Read more here.


414th SCMS wins DoD award for supply chain excellence for nuclear readiness

The 414th Supply Chain Management Squadron was awarded the 2022 Department of Defense Award for Supply Chain Excellence for their exceptional achievements in supply chain management through innovative development and process improvement.

The award was presented by Honorable Christopher Lowman, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment. Read more here.


Hill AFB fighter wings deploy Airmen, F-35As to Japan

This week, Active duty and Reserve Airmen from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings here deployed the F-35A Lighting II to Kadena Air Base, Japan, as part of an effort to assure allies and deter threats to stability in the Pacific region.

Hundreds of pilots, maintainers and support personnel deployed as the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. The Airmen will be joined in Kadena by the 356th Fighter Squadron From Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, which also flies and maintains the F-35A. Read more here.