HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- In a ceremony surrounded by four of the newest fighter aircraft in the Department of Defense fleet, the 570th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron was activated June 10.
Greg Hoffman, squadron director, formally received the unit flag from Brig. Gen. Carl Buhler, Commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex. The squadron is responsible for depot-level maintenance, restoration and modification on the F-35 Lightning II, and works under a public-private partnership with Lockheed Martin.
"Today is a special day where we get to continue the tradition of standing up and publicly activating an aircraft squadron," Buhler said. "Additionally, it's a special day for the men and women of the squadron because at the core of every single technician, engineer and supervisor, pride and internal satisfaction knowing that their overtime and all the personal sacrifices are making tactical and strategic level impacts across our nation and our allied partners."
Buhler noted Hoffman's achievements as a 30-plus year Air Force member, both on active duty and as a civil servant, most of which were spent at Hill. Hoffman most recently directed the 571st and 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons, served as the Chief of Transformation and as the Ogden ALC Director of Environmental Safety and Occupation Health.
Buhler pointed out Greg understands the balance that's needed to ensure safety and effectiveness and he understands and supports the tenets of the AFSC Way, the production model used across all three Air Force depots to ensure cost-effective readiness. He also stated Greg fully embraces and believes in partnering. He fully realizes the success of the F-35 program relies upon the solid foundation he's built with Lockheed Martin. Said simply, Greg has all the tools that he needs to ensure the squadron remains a premier F-35 depot for the United States and for international warfighters.
The general lauded the squadron and its Lockheed Martin partners for their accomplishments that date back to July 2012 when F-35 depot capability was set up. The first jet arrived in September 2013 for post-production modifications which were completed six months later.
Since then, they have produced six additional aircraft with Group 1 modifications, and produced jets for the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Netherlands.
"The work of the men and women in this squadron has not gone unnoticed," Buhler said. "Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, the former AFSC commander, said 'Ogden has proven itself to be the perfect home for depot maintenance as we unfold the next generation of maintenance efficiencies to improve aircraft availability all while driving down costs.'"
In his remarks, Hoffman further congratulated the 570th for their short-notice work on two Marine F-35B aircraft that arrived at Hill AFB in February.
"Usually we try to plan a program 12 months or more in advance, but we were given that work with just six days' notice," Hoffman said. "Today, the aircraft are on the verge of functional check flights, the very first F-35Bs to be worked on here at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex. There was no time for a learning curve, no validation or verification -- you became experts in the art of triage within the AFSC Way. Each and every day you make adjustments to schedule, to mods that release late, to parts that arrive late and always ensure the jets leave here with the most bang for the buck."
Hoffman added that a week before the activation ceremony, the unit received notice the Marine F-35B aircraft's drive shaft needed to be removed.
"It would have been easy for everyone to say 'that's how it goes, we'll catch it up next week.' But accepting defeat is not in the vocabulary of this crew," Hoffman said. "In the true character of these folks, there was no shortage of volunteers. Everyone, of every skill, including our Lockheed partners, rose to the challenge to get the job done over the weekend. On Monday, we ran that motor and good Lord willing, we're going to put that jet in the air this week."
Hoffman said he researched the history and lineage of the 570th, only to find there was none.
"We are a brand-new squadron. Fitting, when you consider that our airplane is brand-new and making its mark in history every day," he said. "This work ethic is setting the tone for the history of this unit. One that I'm proud to say you've allowed me to be a part of.
"In the end, all the glory that any unit has is earned each and every day by the men and women who live it and breathe it."
The unit will soon be the only depot to have worked on all three variants of the F-35, as it has completed nine F-35A aircraft, is completing the Marine F-35Bs, and is projected to work on the Navy's F-35C in January 2016.
Ceremony attendees included squadron employees, Lockheed Martin representatives, area community mayors, congressional representatives and Hill AFB commanders and directors.
Also present were members of the Department of Defense Maintenance Executive Steering Committee, including Paul Peters, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Logistics and Materiel Readiness; John Johns, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Maintenance Policy and Programs; Maj. Gen. Mark Palzer, Deputy Director for Logistics Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff Logistics; Lisha Adams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Materiel Readiness; Jeff Allen, Executive Director, Air Force Sustainment Center; and Eugene Collins, Deputy Director of Logistics, Directorate of Logistics, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.