Story by Felicia Martinez, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
YUMA, AZ – The F-35 Fighter Jet is in the Desert Southwest. Yuma will now be home to the country's first F-35 squadron and to pilots that'll fly the military's newest weapon.
Lieutenant Col. Jeffrey B. Scott flies the F-35 and says ""It's made to go out, find the enemy, not be detected and take out the enemy." Lt Col. Scott says the F-35 has a short take off and vertical landing capabilities so pilots can provide air support to wherever marines go on the ground. He says "MCAS is an important base for Marine Corps aviation but really all services use it for training because of the local areas space and great weather we have here for flying."
The F-35 is replacing the Marine Corps aging FA-18 Hornet and harrier jets. Republican Senator John McCain says despite the F-35's documented technical problems. The fighter jet will play a critical role in securing our nation. He says "We have an all volunteer force and it matters where they are stationed and I'm very proud of the support our government, legislature and citizens give to our military both Air Force and Marine Corps."
Governor Jan Brewer says the new squadron, including pilots, mechanics and ground to air support will bring much needed dollars to the state. She says "It is good for our economy, it is good for our pride and certainly good for our freedom."
The Marine Corps is one of three U.S. military services that will fly the F-35. Fifteen more of these fighter jets will make their way to Yuma over the next year.
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