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Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 watched in amazement and satisfaction as the Corps’ first operational F-35B Lightning II squadron conducted its first Short Take Off, Vertical Landing operations aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. March 21, 2013.

Maj. Richard Rusnok, an F-35B Lightning II test pilot, conducted VMFA-121’s first short landing and takeoff as well as the Corps’ first F-35B hover and vertical landing outside of a testing environment in BF-19.

VMFA-121 is the first F-35B squadron to join Marine Aircraft Group 13 which is currently composed of four AV-8B Harrier squadrons a Marine wing support squadron and a Marine aviation logistics squadron.

Rusnok was accompanied by VMFA-121’s commanding officer, LtCol. Jeffrey Scott, flying a second F-35B as a chase aircraft.

“The first STOVL flight for an F-35B outside of the test environment was another milestone achieved by the Marine Corps and the Green Knights today here at MCAS Yuma,” stated Scott. “The F-35 program and specifically the F-35B have made significant progress to make this possible.”

Source: U.S. Marine Corps

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