In September a Marine F-35B squadron operated off the deck of one of Britain’s newest aircraft carriers, marking a possible future of increased interoperability and flexibility as the U.S. and U.K. take another step forward in their “special relationship.”
The Marine squadron, also known as VMFA-211, or the Wake Island Avengers, sent 10 F-35Bs, from its home base on Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, to the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, where they operated alongside the United Kingdom’s Joint Squadron 617, the Dambusters.
The short operation was meant to help the Marines and British counterparts get used to each other before they embark on a full-scale deployment in 2021.
Joining the Marines on the Queen Elizbeth’s inaugural deployment in 2021 will be six Royal Navy destroyers, frigates and auxiliaries, along with vessels from the Royal Netherlands Navy and the American Navy, forming the “largest UK-led multi-national force in recent years,” according to a press release about the upcoming deployment.
This will not be the first time the Wake Island Avengers make history in the F-35B, with the squadron responsible for flying one of the Corps’ newest planes in combat for the first time in 2018.
This is an excerpt from “21 Things Marines Need To Know For 2021,” in the January print edition of Marine Corps Times.