Luke launches 100,000th F-35 sortie, with ode to maintainers who keep aircraft flying, safe

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jakob Hambright
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – The 56th Fighter Wing produced its 100,000th F-35 Lightning II sortie, May 9, 2024, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.


The sortie, flown by Capt. Garrett Ellis, 308th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, marks another milestone for Luke AFB’s F-35 program.

“The 100,000th F-35 sortie here at Luke symbolizes the professional work and excellence of the whole Luke team,” said Col. Matthew Johnston, 56th Operations Group commander. “During an F-35 student’s time here, they can expect to receive hundreds of academic hours and over 80 simulator and flying missions so they are prepared for the Combat Air Forces.”


The 100,000th sortie also highlights the incredible work that the 56th Maintenance Group conducts to ensure the 56th Fighter Wing can produce sorties with reliable and maintained aircraft.


“For a decade, our maintenance team has worked hard to sustain these highly capable aircraft,” said Col. Adam DiGerolamo, 56th MXG commander. “Each and every year, we’ve been able to overcome obstacles to meet mission and training requirements, culminating in this momentous milestone.”


Even with 100,000 sorties under its belt, Luke AFB looks to the future, continuing its mission of training the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat ready Airmen.