|Lt. Col. Jeffrey Scott on F-35|
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Scott talks about the arrival of the F-35. The VMFA-121 Green Knights will be rededicated today as the first operational F-35B Lightning II squadron at MCAS Yuma.
|F-35B has landed|
The first F-35B Lightning arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Friday afternoon. MCAS Yuma will eventually be home to 88 F-35Bs - 5 squadrons each with 16 aircraft, and one operational test and evaluation squadron of eight aircraft.
|F-35 arrives at MCAS Yuma|
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma welcomed its first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and will hold a re-designation ceremony Tuesday for VMFA-121, which will become the first operational F-35 squadron in the country.
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MCAS Yuma to introduce first operational F-35 squadron
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The next chapter in the future of Marine aviation will officially begin Tuesday afternoon when the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing introduces its first F-35B Lightning II squadron during a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
During the ceremony, Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121, formerly a F/A-18 Hornet squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, will be re-designated as the Marine Corps' first operational F-35 squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, or the Green Knights.
VMFA-121 will host the ceremony in its hangar, where the short takeoff and vertical landing F-35B aircraft will be on display for military leaders, government officials and other guests, including Arizona Sen. John McCain.
The F-35 squadron's inaugural jet, a B-version designed to take off on short runways and land vertically, arrived at the air station on Friday afternoon. Others will follow at monthly intervals until the squadron is at full strength with 16 fighters.
The F-35B, one of three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter, is a tactical fixed-wing aircraft that will replace the Marine Corps' aging F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier and EA-6B Prowler.
In September Lt. Col. Jeff Scott took command of the Green Knights from Lt. Col. Michael Waterman, marking the end of the F/A-18D Hornet days and ushering in the next generation of fighter jets.
This change of command officially moved the squadron from MAG-11 in Miramar to MAG-13 in Yuma.
The pilots of the new squadron are expected to fly the aircraft by year's end. The Marines are the first in the military taking the steps toward putting the planes in operation.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854.