Speaking at an event in the nations’ capital last week, the top officer of the U.S. Marine Corps revealed something quite interesting about the new F-35 jets that will soon be added to the fleet.
While visiting the Lockheed Martin factory in Fort Worth recently, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said he added a special feature to some of the aircraft: his signature.
Gen. Neller was at the factory to inspect the new Joint Strike Fighters as they “rolled off the production line” and also to meet with the company’s executives, according to Military.com.
Along with his autograph, the commandant wrote on some: “Fly well,” and “Be accurate and on time,” and “Kill the bad man.”
On others — he wrote: ‘Property of the U.S. Marine Corps’, although he admits that may have been a gaffe, since the ones he wrote the message on were actually F-35C’s, the Navy version of the aircraft.
Neller confirmed the Marines’ plans to deploy a squadron of F-35s to Japan in early 2017 — where he said the aircraft would spend time on amphibious ships.
“Now we’re going to put a 5th generation airplane with stealth capability, able to penetrate most air defenses in the world on an amphib ship,” he said. “So what does that do for the doctrine, the strategy, the operational art of the [Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit]?”
The answer to that was: “it changes the whole game.”
While speaking at the factory to some pilots that are flying this jet, Neller said, “You always want to do what you do better. But I think we’re at a point now where we need to do what we do different.”
He emphasized that the new F-35Bs will be better, they will be different. He described it as being, in some ways, like “flying a smart phone.” Despite there still being some software glitches and tech issues that have to be sorted out, Neller says he’s expecting “great things” from this aircraft, which will provide a “huge capability to the joint force.”
While speaking to Marines in California this week, the Secretary of Defense said the 2017 defense budget request would “accelerate F-35 buys for the Marine Corps, enabling the Corps to employ them more rapidly.”
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