The first-ever female Marine has successfully completed the F-35B Basic Course for the Marine Corps and is now qualified to fly the fifth-generation fighter jets in combat.
Capt. Anneliese Satz, 29, has been undergoing naval aviation training for the last four years and in June became the first woman to pass the qualification course for the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter jet, Military.com reported Friday.
Satz recollected her first flight in the Joint Strike Fighter, saying, “The first flight in an F-35 is by yourself. It’s an exhilarating experience.”
Prior to joining the Marines, Satz was licensed to fly the single-engine Robinson R44 light helicopter, but she has since piloted the T-6 Texan II turboprop trainer and the T-45C Goshawk carrier capable jet trainer, which is used for tactical mission readiness training.
In a press release, Satz said, “showing up and working hard” led to her success, although she credited her “instructors, maintainers and other members of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501” who helped make her course completion possible.
Satz said, “This is a phenomenal program made possible by all of their hard work. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from all of them. I am incredibly excited to get to VMFA-121 and look forward to the opportunity to serve in the Fleet Marine Forces.”
She trained to fly the F-35B while she was in the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501.
She will be joining the Japan-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the “Green Knights,” which were the “first F-35B squadron to complete an operational deployment with a Marine expeditionary unit aboard a Navy ship,” Military.com explained.
Satz accomplished the breakthrough feat 24 years after the Marine Corps got their first woman aviator, 2nd Lt. Sarah Deal, a CH-53E heavy-lift helicopter pilot.
Six years later in 2001, the Marine Corps qualified its first black female pilot when Capt. Vernice Armour became a qualified AH-1W Cobra pilot.
The Marine Corps first permitted female pilots in 1993.
Just last Friday, 1st Lt. Catherine Stark, 24, from Erie, Penn. became the first female Marine to fly the U.S. Navy’s F-35C, another variant of the fighter jet.