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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar became the first squadron in the Marine Corps to declare full operational capability for the F-35C Lightning II Thursday.

“They will deploy as part of a Carrier Strike Group next year,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general. “FOC for the Black knights is yet another step forward in achieving Force Design objectives. The Black Knights are ready — 3rd MAW is ready.”

Being fully operational is significant in its confirmation that VMFA-314 — VMFA is Marine Corps for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron — is fully prepared and equipped to successfully deploy aboard United States Navy aircraft carriers, a statement from the Marines said.

VMFA-314 received their first F-35C on January 21, 2020 when their first jet arrived at MCAS Miramar from Naval Air Station Lemoore.

“Many hours were spent maintaining aircraft, launching and recovering aircraft in Miramar, at other military facilities and aboard the ship to conduct the training required to meet these goals,” said Maj. Derek Heinz, VMFA-314 operations officer. “The Marines of VMFA-314 have gained confidence in fighting this aircraft and feel confident we can do so in combat if called upon.”

The squadron is continuing its preparations toward future deployments by conducting “tailored ship’s training availability,” marking the first F-35C squadron to conduct TSTA in the Marine Corps. This training will consist of communication rehearsals, medical drills, flight operations and shipboard drills conducted while underway, ensuring the squadron is prepared to deploy in support of maritime campaigns.

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