The US Marine Corps (USMC) Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 has carried out the first flight operations in an F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

Performed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona, these flight operations represent the completion of the first phase of the transition from a legacy F/A-18C Hornet squadron to an F-35B squadron.

In October last year, VMFA-122 arrived at MCAS Yuma and conducted the flight operations for the first time as an F-35 squadron.

VMFA-122 commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel John P Price said: “This was a critical moment for us because it got the ball rolling for us to have a fully operational squadron.”

“It’s truly impressive how quickly it was put together.”

Price added: “It highlights the flexibility and agility that we have inside the Marine Corps to accomplish the mission.

“We have a lot of great marines and sailors here from Yuma and all over the Marine Corps. It’s truly impressive how quickly it was put together.”

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In order to reach this phase in the transition, the VMFA-122 Squadron conducted a range of tests and procedures, which also included the assumption of command and posting of the sergeant major.

VMFA-122 executive officer major John Dirk said: “Starting over, all of our programmes have to be rebuilt and re-established here on MCAS Yuma with a whole new group of people.

“This is the culmination of that first part and going forward we get to maintain and improve them so we can make the squadron have full combat capability.”