125th Fighter Wing vying for selection as next National Guard Wing to home F-35
By Technical Sgt. Troy Anderson, 125th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 09, 2017
Jacksonville, Fla. -- The 125th Fighter Wing (125 FW) in Jacksonville, Florida is now one of the top five choices for becoming home to F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.
"This announcement highlights what we in Florida have always known, that our Florida Air National Guard has the finest facilities, airspace and, most importantly, Airmen in the world," said Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, the adjutant general of Florida. "We are honored that the Air Force recognizes that Jacksonville would be an excellent home for the F-35."
If selected, the F-35 should be arriving to the unit by 2022 and would replace its current airframe: the F-15 Eagle, which was produced over 40 years ago. This update would assist the Florida Air National Guard in continuing its active role in both local and abroad missions.
With roughly 1,000 personnel, the 125 FW provides air defense for the southeastern United States while also performing a continuous 24-hours a day, 365 days a year alert mission; standing ready to intercept unknown aircraft at any time. The unit is also extensively involved in overseas contingency operations. Its last major deployment saw roughly 200 Airmen and 12 aircraft deploy to Eastern Europe as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR) in 2015.
Calhoun said he is confident that brining the F-35 to the 125th FW would have a positive impact on the Jacksonville community.
"Florida is truly the most military friendly state in the nation," Calhoun said. "We have a long history in Jacksonville, and our community support there has always been unparalleled. We look forward to continuing our legacy of supporting the citizens of our state and the nation."