marines

Marines perform first F-35B vertical take-off, landing at Eglin

UPDATED with Frank Kendall’s vote of confidence WASHINGTON: During the Marine’s recent operational readiness test of the F-35B, four of the Marine aircraft went up against nine enemy aircraft. “It went very poorly for the bad guys,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, told me this afternoon. Davis provided few details, saying they… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

CAPITOL HILL: UPDATE BEGINS The administration’s nominee for Marine Corps Commandant, Lt. Gen. Bob Neller, set off a firestorm from Sen. John McCain this morning. After two hours of an otherwise congenial confirmation hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman erupted over Neller’s description of the current administration strategy against the Islamic State. That strategy relies on airpower and advisors… Keep reading →

f-35b

WASHINGTON: A select group of 12 Marines in Yuma, Ariz. began testing the first squadron of F-35B pilots, inspecting their aircraft and checking maintenance procedures and personnel yesterday as the end game for declaring Initial Operating Capability for the aircraft before the end of July. “Initial operating capability (IOC) for the Marine Corps F-35B is… Keep reading →

BA14 LPD Arlington & Dutch boats from bridge of DE WITT IMG_0309

WASHINGTON: Is the US Navy really so short of warships that Marines must catch a ride on foreign vessels, like heavily armed hitchhikers? The answer is, well, sort of. Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire — the Marines definitely could use more amphibious warfare ships — but on this story, politicians, lobbyists, and some of… Keep reading →

Marine Corps image

PENTAGON: Seven weeks ago, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter nominated a blunt-talking “soldier’s soldier” to be Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley. Today, he announced a Marine’s Marine to be Commandant, Lt. Gen. Robert Neller. Bob Neller is celebrated for his direct, even blunt manner — but he’s also a military innovator on the cutting… Keep reading →

Kai Boyce makes a repair in the APU compartment on the aft right side of an F/A-18 hornet at Cecil Commerce Center.

CAPITOL HILL: Marines pride themselves on being ready for anything. But as of today, 19 percent of their air fleet is out of action “long-term” awaiting repairs and spares, the deputy commandant for aviation said today. “It’s 158 — actually, today, 159 aircraft — that the taxpayer paid $8.4 billion dollars for,” said Lt. Gen.… Keep reading →

John McCain

WASHINGTON: Sen. John McCain wants the four services chiefs to have more power to buy weapons efficiently and cheaply. Frank Kendall and his colleagues who oversee Pentagon acquisition, technology and logistics (ATL) have made it pretty clear they don’t think that’s a good idea. So I asked the chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee… Keep reading →

F-35B

ABOARD USS WASP: When the Marines decided to bring the press aboard the USS Wasp for the F-35B’s first set of operational tests — takeoffs, landings and flights designed to nearly simulate combat conditions — they provided the world with a glimpse of how they will fight using amphibious ships, F-35Bs and V-22 Ospreys. We… Keep reading →

F-35B

WASHINGTON: As I watched the seemingly endless string of F-35Bs take off from the deck of the USS Wasp earlier this week, I was struck by how routine it all seemed. During eight days of flying, the F-35Bs flew 108 sorties, racking up 85.5 hours, deputy Marine Commandant for aviation, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, told us on… Keep reading →

F35overWaspbow

ABOARD USS WASP: The continuous sorties of F-35Bs flying on May 26, watched by British and US press, was almost numbing. Six planes aboard the ship flew sortie after sortie, four from the Green Knights squadron at Yuma and two from the Warlords at Beaufort. As Lt. General Davis, deputy Marine Commandant for aviation, said in response to… Keep reading →

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