The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s (ANG’s) 115th Fighter Wing (FW) welcomed an initial batch of three F-35A Lightning IIs on April 25. The fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighters arrived at Truax Field ANGB in Madison, Wisconsin, following a ferry flight from Luke AFB, Arizona.
During the delivery flight, the fighters (serials 18-5413 ‘WI’, 18-5417 ‘WI’ and 20-5629 ‘WI’), which had previously been assigned to the USAF’s 56th FW at Luke, were refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the Wisconsin ANG’s 128th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), which is home-based at General Mitchell ANGB in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The 115th FW’s 176th Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Badger Air Militia’ is the second ANG unit to receive the Lightning II and will eventually receive 20 aircraft. The F-35As will be jointly operated and maintained by personnel from the USAF’s 378th FS ‘Gundogs’. Also stationed at Truax Field, this active associate unit is administratively assigned to the 495th Fighter Group at Shaw AFB in South Carolina. Truax Field was selected by the Department of the Air Force to host one of the next ANG F-35A units in April 2020.
The first factory-fresh F-35A (serial 20-5620 ‘WI’) for the ‘Badger Air Militia’ was recently rolled out of Lockheed Martin’s Aircraft Final Finish Facility (AFFF) and moved to the company’s Acceptance and Test Facility (ATF) at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas.