US Marine Corps Air Station Miramar welcomed the Marine Corps’ first F-35C Lightning II this week.
The service say that the Marines and sailors of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, the ‘Black Knights’, are extremely proud of their legacy and tradition of making aviation history.
“It should be no surprise that VMFA-314 is once again leading the way into the next generation of fighter attack aircraft,” said Lt. Col Cedar Hinton, commanding officer of VMFA-314, in a news release.
The squadron’s history began with its commissioning in 1943 at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, as the ‘Bob’s Cats.’ In 1952, they were the first squadron in 3rd MAW to transition to jet aircraft and fly the F-9F Panther. In 1957, they officially became the ‘Black Knights’ with the arrival of the F-4D Skyray. In October 1961, the ‘Black Knights’ were the first Marine Corps squadron to transition to the F-4B Phantom and in 1982, the first in the Department of the Navy to fly the F/A-18 Hornet.
The F-35C is one of three F-35 variants and was designed to operate from an aircraft carrier and is the first 5th generation long-range stealth strike fighter jet designed for that mission. The F-35Cs control surfaces and landing gear are better equipped for carrier operation than the other variants.