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First F-35C Delivered to USMC at Miramar

The first carrier-based variant of the F-35 Lightning II, the F-35C, was delivered to the US Marines at MCAS Miramar Tuesday. The fifth-generation stealth fighter is the first to be designed for use with catapult systems on US aircraft carriers.

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“Fat Albert” – Blue Angels C-130 Hercules

Fat Albert Putting on its Show

Fat Albert taking off

U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, C-130 transport aircraft, affectionately known as Fat Albert, takes off during a demonstration at the California International Airshow at the Salinas Municipal Airport.

Fat Albert History

In 1970, after operating a variety of logistics aircraft, the Blue Angels transitioned to a Marine Corps Lockheed KC-130F Hercules – a tactical transport aircraft. It was operated by an all-Marine crew and affectionately named “Fat Albert.” The team still recruits an all-Marine aircrew to operate its Fat Albert logistics aircraft today, but has upgraded to a Lockheed Martin C-130T Hercules.

Light the Rockets – JATO

Part of Fat Albert’s demonstration used to include JATO take offs – Jet Assisted Take Offs. Although the name says Jet, more accurately they’re solid-fuel rockets, four strapped to each side.

Inside the Fat Albert Cockpit

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Why is the F-35 a Game Changer in the Pacific?

The F-35 is the one of the most well known, and expensive, defense projects in human history. With new capabilities just now hitting the battlefield, the full implications of its deployment are still be realized on the world stage. With Western air superiority established in much of the Middle East area of operations, the Pacific region stands to be impacted more by the F-35’s arrival to the scene.

Even more intimidating is that same carrier stocked up with fifth-generation US stealth fighters

An F-35B Lightning II assigned to the “Flying Leathernecks” of Marine Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 122 lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6). America is currently underway conducting routine operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vance Hand/Released)

Japan has been flying the F-35, right next to China, since early 2018. And just last month, the F-35 was officially welcomed into the South Korean Air Force. In the space of 24 months, the US and two of its allies deployed the stealthiest, and one of the most capable, fighter jets in the world, right in China’s back yard. Additionally the US Marines now operate the F-35 aboard amphibious assault aircraft carriers criss-crossing the South China Sea, pushing back against China’s advances and increasing territorial claims.

Two U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), standby on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during routine training in the Eastern Pacific, Sept. 28, 2019. 3rd MAW is capable of conducting missions across the range of military operations and continues to promote the defense of our nation and its interests. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Juan Anaya)

As deliveries to allies continue to ramp up, along with the delivery of the Navy’s variant, the F-35C, pressure on China is only likely to continue increasing. When the F-35C is fully operational with the Navy, the US will also be able to employ its fleet of nuclear-powered Super Carriers to push US stealth fighters right where they need to be.

A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), prepares to land on the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during routine training in the Eastern Pacific, Sept. 28, 2019. 3rd MAW is capable of conducting missions across the range of military operations and continues to promote the defense of our nation and its interests. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Juan Anaya)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 30, 2019) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Sabrina Bales, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6, signals an F-35B Lightning II assigned to the Flying Leathernecks of Marine Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 122 to take off from the ship’s flight deck. America is currently underway conducting routine operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vance Hand/Released)

A fully crewed Nimitz-class Super Carrier is an awesome and frightening sight to behold by adversarial nations. The only thing even more intimidating is that same carrier stocked up with fifth-generation US stealth fighters instead of their old Super Hornets. Much of the world’s attention is expected to continue looking towards the Indo-Pacific. The F-35’s arrival on the scene, only sure to continue increasing, will change the game in the Pacific region.

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Marines Live Fire Exercise in Jordan

WADI SHADIYA, JORDAN (Sept. 2, 2019) A light armored vehicle 25 with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fires its main gun during Exercise Eager Lion 19. Eager Lion, U.S. Central Command’s largest and most complex exercise, is an opportunity to integrate forces in a multilateral environment, operate in realistic terrain and strengthen military-to-military relationships. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Adam Dublinske)

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US Marines in Times Square – Fleet Week New York

U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Fleet Week New York, Sailors with the USS New York (LPD) 21, Coast Guardsmen and members of the Royal Canadian Navy pose for the photo at Times Square in New York City, NY, May 22, 2019. Fleet Week NY is an opportunity for the American public to meet their Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard service members and experience America’s sea services firsthand. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jered T. Stone)

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USS Boxer Canine Drills

PACIFIC OCEAN (May 22, 2019) Gaya, an explosive detection dog with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), sits during a five phases of aggression drill aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). The Marines and Sailors of the 11th MEU are deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies, and maintain a presence postured to respond to any crisis ranging from humanitarian assistance to contingency operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)

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Trump Approves Lethal Force by Military at Border

U.S. Marines with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, secures concertina wire and barbed wire to barriers at the San Luis I Port of Entry in Arizona, Nov. 19, 2018. U.S. Northern Command is providing military support to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure the Southern border of the United States. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cutler Brice)

U.S. Marines with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, secures concertina wire and barbed wire to barriers at the San Luis I Port of Entry in Arizona, Nov. 19, 2018. U.S. Northern Command is providing military support to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure the Southern border of the United States. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cutler Brice)

U.S. Marines with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, secures concertina wire and barbed wire to barriers at the San Luis I Port of Entry in Arizona, Nov. 19, 2018. U.S. Northern Command is providing military support to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure the Southern border of the United States. On Thursday, Nov. 22, President Trump approved the use of lethal force by US Marines and other troops currently deployed at the border. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cutler Brice)

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US Marines Artillery in Norway

U.S. Marines with Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, 2D Marine Division, set up a M777A2 Light Towed Howitzer during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 in Driva, Norway on Nov. 2, 2018. Trident Juncture is a multinational NATO exercise that enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with Allied and partner nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deanna C. Gonzales/Released)

U.S. Marines with Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, 2D Marine Division, set up a M777A2 Light Towed Howitzer during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 in Driva, Norway on Nov. 2, 2018. Trident Juncture is a multinational NATO exercise that enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with Allied and partner nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deanna C. Gonzales/Released)

U.S. Marines with Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, 2D Marine Division, set up a M777A2 Light Towed Howitzer during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 in Driva, Norway on Nov. 2, 2018. Trident Juncture is a multinational NATO exercise that enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with Allied and partner nations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deanna C. Gonzales/Released)

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US Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion in Norway – Trident Juncture 2018

U.S. Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, travel to their next objective during Trident Juncture 18 near Hjerkinn Norway, Nov. 2, 2018. Trident Juncture 18 enhances the U.S. and NATO Allies’ and partners’ abilities to work together collectively to conduct military operations under challenging conditions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Menelik Collins/Released)

U.S. Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, travel to their next objective during Trident Juncture 18 near Hjerkinn Norway, Nov. 2, 2018. Trident Juncture 18 enhances the U.S. and NATO Allies’ and partners’ abilities to work together collectively to conduct military operations under challenging conditions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Menelik Collins/Released)

U.S. Marines with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, travel to their next objective during Trident Juncture 18 near Hjerkinn Norway, Nov. 2, 2018. Trident Juncture 18 enhances the U.S. and NATO Allies’ and partners’ abilities to work together collectively to conduct military operations under challenging conditions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Menelik Collins/Released)

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US Marine F-35B in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (Oct. 14, 2018) An F-35B Lightning II attached to the “Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 is chocked and chained on the flight deck as the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) arrives in Doha, Qatar. Essex is a flexible, and persistent Navy-Marine Corps team deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Freeman/Released)

DOHA, Qatar (Oct. 14, 2018) An F-35B Lightning II attached to the “Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 is chocked and chained on the flight deck as the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) arrives in Doha, Qatar. Essex is a flexible, and persistent Navy-Marine Corps team deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Freeman/Released)

DOHA, Qatar (Oct. 14, 2018) An F-35B Lightning II attached to the “Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211 is chocked and chained on the flight deck as the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) arrives in Doha, Qatar. Essex is a flexible, and persistent Navy-Marine Corps team deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Freeman/Released)

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Marines Homecoming at MCAS Cherry Point

U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 participate in a homecoming ceremony on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Oct. 3, 2018. VMGR-252 returned home from a seven-month deployment in support of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force. VMGR-252 is a squadron with Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cody J. Ohira)

U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 participate in a homecoming ceremony on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Oct. 3, 2018. VMGR-252 returned home from a seven-month deployment in support of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force. VMGR-252 is a squadron with Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cody J. Ohira)

U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 participate in a homecoming ceremony on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Oct. 3, 2018. VMGR-252 returned home from a seven-month deployment in support of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force. VMGR-252 is a squadron with Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cody J. Ohira)

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Super Stallions on Long Range Raid

U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) conduct flight operations during a long range raid in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-19 in Yuma, Arizona, Sept. 28, 2018. WTI is a seven-week training event hosted by MAWTS-1 which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine air-ground task force. WTI provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexia Lythos)

U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) conduct flight operations during a long range raid in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-19 in Yuma, Arizona, Sept. 28, 2018. WTI is a seven-week training event hosted by MAWTS-1 which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine air-ground task force. WTI provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexia Lythos)

U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) conduct flight operations during a long range raid in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-19 in Yuma, Arizona, Sept. 28, 2018. WTI is a seven-week training event hosted by MAWTS-1 which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine air-ground task force. WTI provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexia Lythos)

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Marine Artillery Night Operations In Syria

A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3, 2017. They have been conducting 24-hour all-weather fire support for the Coalition’s local partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, as part of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)

A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3, 2017. They have been conducting 24-hour all-weather fire support for the Coalition’s local partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, as part of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)

A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3, 2017. They have been conducting 24-hour all-weather fire support for the Coalition’s local partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, as part of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)