Pilot Identified Following F/A-18E Dath Valley Crash

August 2, 2019 – The pilot of the F/A-18E Super Hornet that crashed approximately 40 miles north of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, on July 31 has been identified. The Super Hornet, assigned to the “Vigilantes” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California, was flown by Lt. Charles Z. Walker, 33. “The NAS Lemoore aviation family is grieving the loss of one of our own,” said Capt. James Bates, Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Pacific. “Lt. Walker was an incredible naval aviator,…

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Strike Fighter Squadron 101 Deactivates

May 23, 2019 – The last F-35C belonging to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 “Grim Reapers” left its home base at Eglin, AFB in Fla. for Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL) as the squadron deactivated after more than seven years of training F-35C pilots and Sailors and Marines. Grim Reaper origins can be traced back to 1942. Homeported at NAS San Diego, the squadron was originally known as VF-10 and was flying the F4F Wildcat off USS Enterprise (CV 6) in the Pacific during WWII. After the Battle of Guadalcanal,…

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F-35C Achieves Initial Operational Capability

February 28, 2019 – The Commander, Naval Air Forces and the U.S. Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation jointly announced that the aircraft carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C Lightning II, met all requirements and achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC). The Feb. 28 announcement comes shortly after the Department of the Navy’s first F-35C squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, completed aircraft carrier qualifications aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and received Safe-For-Flight Operations Certification. In order to declare IOC, the first operational squadron must be properly…

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