Yuma welcomes F-35 squadron

City of Yuma leaders welcomed the arrival of the first F-35B airplane and the first F-35B squadron, introduced at an official ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

Mayor Al Krieger congratulated the Yuma station “on the aggressive program they undertook to prepare the air station for the arrival of the F-35 Strike Fighter. The extensive infrastructure that needed replacement and new facilities that were necessary to accommodate this aircraft were completed prior to the arrival of the F-35. The Yuma community has benefitted from the construction jobs which will continue to boost our economy.

The arrival of the F35 Strike Fighter will continue to generate an increase in economic growth. This will provide opportunity for growth in employment through home construction and other areas. The long-term effects of economic stability spur optimism and position us to be a leader in the defense industry.”

Senator John McCain joined the local dignitaries at the ceremony to inaugurate Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121. McCain, who has had concerns about the readiness of the aircraft said he was encouraged by recent progress of the program. The aircraft has had technical problems.

City Administrator Greg Wilkinson released a statement, “On Oct. 10 we celebrated a historic 1949 event that played a part in Yuma’s history: A group of aviators and Yumans flew a small airplane for 47 days, changing aviation in the Yuma area and helping to bring the military back to Yuma. Today we are again watching history being made, as the first of a new generation of aircraft is being delivered to the Marines at MCAS Yuma.

The first operational F-35 aircraft and first F-35 squadron in the world is here. This airplane will be the future of military fighter/attack aircraft for the U.S. and its allies for many years to come, and it started here. The Marines and Yuma are again on the world stage first.”

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