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Col. David Silva - Commander, Detachment 1, HQs FLANG

Year in Review - 2015

The mission of Headquarters (HQs) Florida Air National Guard (FLANG), Detachment 1 (Det-1) is to provide highly experienced F-22 and F-35 instructor pilots to support the 325th and 33rd Fighter Wings’ missions. The primary mission of both wings is to train the next generation of fighter pilots for the Combat Air Forces. This mission is executed hand-in-hand with both the active duty and Air Force Reserve components, making HQ FLANG Det-1 the only true Total Force organization in the Fighter Community.

During the past year, Det-1 F-22 instructor pilots were instrumental in the total transformation of the formal training syllabus and the implementation of a $100 million simulator upgrade. Both initiatives resulted in a 100 percent increase in student training capacity and a 50 percent increase in student production. As the Combat Air Force continues to experience a critical shortage of F-22 pilots, this increased production has been the cornerstone for continued success of the air dominance mission. In addition to their role in the formal training mission, the experience, expertise and leadership of FLANG pilots in key 325th Fighter Wing leadership positions was crucial to the success of the first-ever F-22 combat deployment, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

The F-35 program at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), continues to build toward full operational status and FLANG pilots were at the forefront of this endeavor. Training 85 F-35 pilots, including all of the senior leadership at Hill AFB, Utah, the Formal Training Unit at Eglin AFB is leading the way toward providing the U.S. Air Force’s first fully combat capable F-35 unit.

In response to a desperate need from our active duty partner, the FLANG hired the first F-22 pilot into the F-35 program, bringing much needed fifth-generation fighter experience to the fledgling program. The cross flow of information from the F-22 to the F-35 ignited a revolution in F-35 employment tactics while providing crucial lessons learned. The 33rd Fighter Wing is currently transitioning from an International Partner training facility to a U.S.-only operations training center, the only such training facility in the U. S. Air Force. A FLANG pilot is leading the team responsible for planning and implementation.