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Col. Jason Rudd - Commander, Detachment 1, HQ FLANG

Year in Review - 2019

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 one of the only true Total Force organizations in the fighter community. The unbelieveable dedication and expertise of each Det-1 instructor pilot has proven instrumental to the success of the associated Fighter Wings, as well as the future of F-22 and F-35 training.

Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), F-22 assigned Det-1 currently consists of two members. Following the devastation of Hurricane Michael, the 325th Fighter Wing flying mission moved to Eglin AFB, while also continuing to train F-22 students in academics and simulators at Tyndall AFB. Both Det-1 members continue to serve critical roles for the 325th Fighter Wing, requiring one member to move to Eglin AFB. Det-1 selflessly led the transition to Eglin AFB, as the Assistant Director of Operations for the 43rd Fighter Squadron, while another became the first-ever Air Force Reserve Component Director of Operations for the 325th Training Support Squadron. Det-1 spearheaded the revamp of the F-22 training syllabus, shifting the paradigm for future fighter pilots to accomplish all academic and simulator training prior to flying their first flight. The result of this change will increase fighter pilot production by 14 percent and decrease the overall length of the course by three weeks. In parallel, Det-1 led the coordination and set-up of the first two F-22 Weapons and Tactics Trainers at Eglin AFB, which has been vital for student training due to the separation of training capability between the two bases. Overall, Det-1's F-22 instructors were instrumental in the creation of 41 basic course pilots, recertification of 29 additional pilots, 12 instructor pilots, and Weapons Instructor Course (WIC) spinup for three pilots.

Eglin AFB F-35A assigned Det-1 currently consists of two members. Both members continue to serve in critical roles for the 33rd Fighter Wing in 2019. Specifically, Det-1 filled the 58th Fighter Squadron Tier 1 Weapons Officer position until July and then was hand selected as the Director of Operations for the 33rd Operations Support Squadron. As a testament of the capability of our Det-1 members, the newest hire jumped right into the coveted Chief of Wing Weapons position for the 33rd Fighter Wing. Det-1 has travelled extensively in support of active duty training missions. Most notably, four squadron trips were taken to Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas for advanced simulator training, along with two weeks at Volk Field, Wisconsin in support of the annual exercise Northern Lightning. Integration with fourth- and fifth-generation assets during Large Force Exercises was the Capstone event for students graduating from the F-35A Transition Course. One of the Det-1 members also volunteered to support the F-35 Operational Test in the annual exercise Northern Edge to Elmendorf, Alaska. Overall, Det-1 F-35 instructors were instrumental in the creation of 58 pilots, eight instructor pilots, and WIC spin-up for two pilots.