Nellis Airman is First Reservist to Fly F-35A

Maj. Joseph Scholtz, a member of Air Force Reserve Command’s 706th Fighter Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., recently became the first Air Force Reservist to fly the F-35A strike fighter, according to a base release. He is an operational test pilot integrated into Nellis’ 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron and is currently Nellis’ only qualified F-35 pilot, states the March 15 release. “It’s great to be on the ground floor,” said Scholtz, who serves as test director for the squadron’s new F-35 division. As such, he is responsible for organizing ways to explore F-35A tactics and learning how to integrate the strike fighter with other airframes, according to the release. “Major Scholtz was a natural choice upon which to build our new F-35 division,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Suttlemyre, 422nd TES commander. “He is incredibly smart on the test process, a hard worker, and very detail oriented.” Scholtz has been a Reservist since 2009. He qualified in the F-35A at Eglin AFB, Fla. Nellis earlier this month received its first F-35As. Members of the Air National Guard already have flown the jet. (Nellis report by Maj. Jessica Martin)