Week of 5/14/20
Thank You From Our Customers
This week, I want to highlight what our customers are saying about your hard work in the new COVID-19 world. We've maintained operations and adapted to find new ways to meet their critical missions. Every day we receive positive feedback on your continuous efforts to drive the program forward.
Our Chairman and CEO, Marillyn Hewson, shared a letter from U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. In his letter he thanks all Defense industrial base employees for your sacrifices and efforts to help defend the United States and her allies.
Sec. Esper says, "I am proud that you embody the following words of former Secretary of Defense, George C. Marshall, whose portrait hangs above my desk, 'It is not enough to fight the fight. It is the spirit that we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It is morale that wins the victory,' Each of you play a crucial part in the fight against COVID-19 and in maintaining the winning spirit across the supply chain." I echo his words and encourage you to keep up the fight.
From the development spaces, to the production line, to the flight line, in conjunction with all of the support & supply team members in the shop or working from home, you continue to enable the F-35 to conduct operations around the globe 24/7/365. I urge you to stay focused on the mission and the challenges ahead. Thank you for your commitment and thanks for carrying our water.
Hill AFB Airmen Return Home
Last week, the first wave of aircraft and personnel from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings returned home after a six-month deployment in the Middle East. The units helped conduct 24/7 F-35 operations.
Last April, Hill airmen deployed to the Middle East with the F-35 for the first time. The Air Force quickly realized the value of the F-35 in the battlespace and pushed up a second operational mission, six months ahead of schedule.
While deployed, the squadron demonstrated the Rapid Unit Dynamic Employment (RUDE) concept. This concept deploys a small unit of aircraft, pilots and maintainers to a location to conduct and sustain combat operations. It tests the ability of the F-35 to provide a combat-ready air capability. The RUDE concept represents one method our men and women in uniform use to be even more effective in F-35 combat operations.
While deployed the team conducted 1,439 sorties, flew 7,311 hours and maintained a 79% mission-capable rate. These numbers are impressive and highlight the F-35’s ability to Perform for our customers and deliver rapid readiness.
The Green Mountain Boys Hit 500
Last September, one of my favorite F-35 milestones took place in Vermont. The Vermont Air National Guard became the first Air National Guard unit to receive the F-35. The milestone signified a changing of the guard when the unit transitioned from flying the F-16 to the F-35.
Fast forward to today and the Vermont Air National Guard has flown 500 sorties. Maj. Michael Cady, Chief of Weapons and Tactics for the 134th Fighter Squadron, piloted the 500th sortie, “I’m just a pilot on any given day, flying an airplane. It just so happened that I ended up in the jet for the 500th sortie. I had my dedicated crew chief Joe there with me launching and it was cool to share that moment with him,” said Cady.
The Green Mountain Boys continue to direct their efforts toward Northern Lightning preparation. The large-scale training exercise will take place at Volk Field later this year. Currently, the Vermont Air National Guard flies and maintains 15 F-35s. They expect to receive their full complement of 20 F-35s by August.
Lockheed Martin Aircraft Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts
I’d like to give a shout-out to two aircraft that I spent a lot of time with in the past: the C-130 and the C-5. Operators have relied on these airlifters to support COVID-19 missions around the world. Over the last few weeks, C-130s and C-5s have joined the fight against COVID-19 by transporting medical personnel and delivering medical supplies.
The Coast Guard and Air Force have used Hercs to ensure the timely delivery of medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to medical responders and the Illinois Air National Guard’s C-130s cut down a three-day, 2,150-mile trek across the United States to an overnight delivery to support first responders.
Global C-130 operators have also flown their Hercs to support relief efforts. This week, a Republic of Korea C-130 transported 500,000 protective masks for donation to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to use in their COVID-19 response. South Korea donated the masks in honor of Korean War veterans and the long-standing alliance between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. This year marks the 70thanniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.
I am proud of my time in Marietta supporting the C-130 and C-5 programs. Great work to everyone involved and take care of yourselves.