First Tanking

Photo by Sgt. Gabriella Garcia

Two US Marine Corps pilots, Maj. Ty Bachman and Maj. Paul Holst, carried out the first two operational aerial refuelings of the F-35B Lightning II over the Florida panhandle on 2 October 2012. Previous aerial refueling operations with the F-35 have been conducted only with test aircraft. The two F-35B pilots are assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501) at Eglin AFB, Florida, the F-35 Integrated Training Center. Holst is also the first non-instructor pilot or test pilot to perform an aerial refueling in the F-35B.The KC-130J Super Hercules tanker crew on the flight is assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina.


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