The Corps recently set two new milestones for the F-35B Lightning II.

The Corps recently set two new milestones for the F-35 program as it continues to transition to the high-tech aircraft.

Last Thursday, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 out of Yuma, Arizona, conducted its first flight operations with the F-35B Lightning II.

“This was a critical moment for us because it got the ball rolling for us to have a fully operational squadron,” Lt. Col. John P. Price, the commander of VMFA-122, said in a command release.

And, March 24, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 loaded a 1,000-pound bomb onto an F-35B aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp.

The event was the first-time live munitions have been loaded onto an F-35 while underway during a deployment. The Wasp has been operating in the Philippine Sea with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

The Corps is still shifting to the brand new F-35B.

During a January discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Marine Commandant Robert B. Neller said the Corps had too many Hornets.

The Corps is still trying to phase out some of its legacy aircraft like the AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18 Hornets to the F-35s.

Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.

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