OGDEN, Utah — A group of airmen have returned to a Utah base after being deployed to the Middle East for six months in the jets’ first real-world combat missions.

The Standard-Examiner reported Monday that members of two fighter wings returned to Hill Air Force Base after completing at least two combat strikes on enemy forces in the United Arab Emirates.

Military officials say F-35A Lightning II pilots conducted an air strike in April hitting a network of tunnels used by the Islamic State group.

Officials say pilots dropped about 80,000 pounds (36,300 kilograms) of bombs in another Iraq attack in September.

Officials say the Utah base has been accepting aircrafts each month until the full 78-jet fleet is completed. Officials expect the fleet to be completed by the end of the year.

Airmen from the active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings return home on Nov. 1, 2019, following a six-month deployment to Al-Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. The 4th Fighter Squadron's deployment was the first F-35A Lightning II combat deployment. (R. Nial Bradshaw/Air Force)
Airmen from the active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings return home on Nov. 1, 2019, following a six-month deployment to Al-Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. The 4th Fighter Squadron's deployment was the first F-35A Lightning II combat deployment. (R. Nial Bradshaw/Air Force)