The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., last week completed its 100th F-35 strike fighter sortie, according to wing officials. Marine Corps Lt. Col. David Berke, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, on July 11 flew the milestone mission, according to Eglin’s July 12 release. The wing’s first 100 sorties included 74 flights of Air Force F-35As and 26 missions of Marine Corps F-35Bs, states the release. The wing, which hosts the initial joint F-35 schoolhouse, began F-35A flight operations in March. F-35B flights commenced in May. The wing’s current flying operations consist of Air Force pilots and marine aviators checking out in their respective service’s F-35 variants. (Eglin photo caption by Maj. Karen Roganov)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.