The U.S. Marine Corps F-35B joint strike fighter has successfully conducted its first combat mission over Afghanistan, U.S. officials confirmed to Military Times.
The strikes, carried out by F-35Bs assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, occurred Thursday morning against a fixed target “in support of ground clearance operations,” and were deemed a success by the ground force commander, according to a statement put out by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 made history earlier this month as they became the first squadron with F-35Bs to deploy to the U.S. Central Command area of operations aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Essex.
“The F-35B is a significant enhancement in theater amphibious and air warfighting capability, operational flexibility, and tactical supremacy,” said Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central command. “As part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, this platform supports operations on the ground from international waters, all while enabling maritime superiority that enhances stability and security.”
“The opportunity for us to be the first Navy, Marine Corps team to employ the F-35B in support of maneuver forces on the ground demonstrates one aspect of the capabilities this platform brings to the region, our allies, and our partners,” said Col. Chandler Nelms, commanding officer of the 13th MEU.