Home » Aviation » Marines Prepared to Use F-35Bs in Middle East Combat If Needed; No Other Naval Aviation Nearby


Marines Prepared to Use F-35Bs in Middle East Combat If Needed; No Other Naval Aviation Nearby

F-35B Lightning II, attached to the “Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, sit on the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) on Sept. 4, 2018, while transiting the Indian Ocean with San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) during a regularly scheduled deployment of Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Essex ARG and 13th MEU is the first U.S. Navy/Marine Corps team to deploy to U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations with the F-35B Lightning II. US Navy photo.

The Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters are the only ship-based fixed-wing aircraft in the Middle East right now, and service leaders say the new jets are ready to handle any fight in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan they may be tasked with.

Though the F-35Bs have never seen combat before, they are now the only available fighters from the Navy or Marine Corps in the region, and service leaders say they are not going to ease the F-35 into operations. Whatever 5th Fleet and U.S. Central Command leadership asks of naval aviation, the F-35Bs deployed with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be ready to handle, they say.

“The deployment of the F-35B into U.S. Central Command is a major milestone for the program and validates the aircraft is in the fight right now, conducting real-world operations; it is actively supporting combatant commanders. We look forward to demonstrating the capability of our newest, advanced stealth aircraft during this deployment,” Capt. Christopher Harrison, a spokesman at Headquarters Marine Corps at the Pentagon, told USNI News.
“The F-35Bs on the 13th MEU are able to execute any mission that may arise in U.S. Central Command while simultaneously providing a high-end deterrent to any near-peer threat that may emerge. These aircraft feature Block 3F software which provides ‘full warfighting capability’ from its fully-enabled data link to increased weapons delivery capacity. The F-35’s ability to operate in contested areas, including anti-access/area-denial environments that legacy fighters cannot penetrate, provides more lethality and flexibility to the combatant commander than any other fighter platform.”

USNI News previously reported the Block 3F software allows the plane to load up with more ordnance than the F/A-18C Hornet can carry through external pylons, or it can clear the wings and rely only on internal weapons carriage to preserve its fifth-generation stealth capability.

An F-35B Lightning II, attached to the “Avengers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 211, launches from the flight deck of Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) on Sept. 2, 2018, during a regularly scheduled deployment of Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). US Navy photo.

Whereas the U.S. military faced relatively uncontested air space over Afghanistan and Iraq for the better part of the last 17 years, the fight over Syria is much more complex. The Syrian government has its own jets in the air and air defense systems on the ground. Russian forces and other players complicate the air space, as the U.S. has tried to provide close-air support for U.S. and partner forces on the ground.

Lt. Christina Gibson, a spokeswoman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, told USNI News that, rather than ease the new F-35Bs into operations, leaders would leverage the advanced capabilities the jets bring to this complex airspace.

“The F-35B Lightning II is a significant advance in air superiority. It combines next-generation fighter characteristics of radar-evading stealth, supersonic speed, fighter agility and advanced logistical support with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history, providing the [Marine Air-Ground Task Force] unparalleled lethality and survivability,” she said.
“The F-35B can provide close air support in threat environments where other current platforms would not survive, or require multiple aircraft packages. It provides unparalleled protection to our Marines and Sailors on the ground.”

Gibson added that the new plane provides more options to operational planners by being able to get into spaces that legacy F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets and AV-8B Harriers couldn’t, and “allows pilots and the MEU commander to do more to protect our warfighters and coalition partners on the ground. The F-35B allows us to approach our mission from a position of strength in the CENTCOM [area of responsibility], enabling maritime superiority that enhances stability and ensures security while providing support to operations on the ground.”

An F-35B Lightning II from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), lands aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), during a regularly scheduled deployment of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 13th MEU, July 24, 2018. US Marine Corps photo.

The Essex ARG and 13th MEU chopped into U.S. 5th Fleet at the beginning of September – during a time when no capital ships at all have been in the region to provide strike aviation to Operation Inherent Resolve or Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since the Iwo Jima ARG chopped out of 5th Fleet in mid-July. No aircraft carriers have been in the region since USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) stopped conducting strikes against the Islamic State from the Mediterranean in mid-June, and no carriers have operated from within the 5th Fleet area of responsibility since USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) sailed from 5th Fleet into 7th Fleet in late March.

During this amphibious force’s time in 5th Fleet, the Essex ARG and 13th MEU will do what most other ARG/MEUs do during their deployments: they will train with partners’ militaries, they will conduct sustainment training, and they will be ready to respond to crises that arise, as well as support the named operations in the Middle East if called upon. The presence of the F-35s doesn’t change any of that, Gibson said, but she added that leaders were excited to show off the new capability and approach each task with a more sophisticated weapon.

“The ARG/MEU team will participate in exercises and, as tasked, combat operations during their deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. From these exercises and operations, the Navy/Marine Corps team will demonstrate the capabilities that the F-35B brings to the ARG/MEU and how to best employ those capabilities,” she said.
“The Essex Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit are conducting a Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal to demonstrate the ability to secure littoral environments, as part of the Theater Counter Mine and Maritime Security Exercise. Commencing September 8th, the U.S. 5th Fleet is leading four exercises across the theater with regional and global partners which demonstrate our capability, intent, and resolve to ensure freedom of movement and navigation through all three critical choke points across the theater simultaneously. The F-35B allows the ARG/MEU to demonstrate resolve to provide air and maritime superiority to ensure security at sea and on land with the introduction of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. The F-35B allows us to approach our mission from a position of strength in the Central Region and to ensure freedom of movement and navigation through all three critical choke points across the theater simultaneously.”

  • Duane

    Cool!

    Operating in close proximity to Syrian, Russian, and Iranian air defenses to support coalition forces on the ground is exactly what the F-35 was designed, built, and flown to handle better than any other warbird on the planet. Their networked world’s best sensors will be a huge boon to the coalition forces.

    • RunningBear

      The Iwo Jima ARG with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployed on 7Feb18 from Mayport, Fla. and chopped out of 5th fleet in midJul18. “IF” Essex ARG stays nearly that long, the F-35Bs will amass a huge amount of ISR and EA/EW data for the MDFs of the AOR; DAS, ISAR and EOTS heaven!! The USAF F-35A and USN F-35C will greatly benefit from the USMC F-35B MDF data acquisition from these efforts.
      IMHO
      Fly Navy
      🙂

      • Duane

        Yup.

        Every single sortie by every single F-35 adds critical data to the mission data files that then get downloaded to every other F-35’s MDF database.

        This is the only warbird on the planet that goes to school on every flight and returns home smarter than before, and also does “distance learning” courtesy of every other F-35.

  • George Hollingsworth

    “The Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters are the only ship-based fixed-wing aircraft in the Middle East right now,”
    Question: How many USAF assets are in the region?
    Answer: About half of them.

  • NavySubNuke

    I wonder if they have any sort of RCS augmentation capability for use in theaters like this where there is no real threat to the aircraft.
    Making the RCS appear larger than it actually is while bombing ISIS or Taliban targets in the region would prevent potential adversaries in the region such as Iran, Russia, and Syria from gaining insight into the exact characteristics and performance of the F-35 until the day it comes for one of them for real and don’t handcuff our own performance.

    • RunningBear

      Suprisingly, two of the Essex photos show the “Bee” with the lens.
      Fly Navy
      🙂

      • RunningBear

        Perhaps they will remove them when in Syria
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

      • NavySubNuke

        Sorry not an aviator – what is the “lens”?

        • RunningBear

          It uses detachable modules (two on upper fuselage and two on the lower fuselage) on the surface as radar reflectors; ie: Luneburg lens is a radar reflector.

          A radar reflector
          can be made from a Luneburg lens by metalizing parts of its surface.
          Radiation from a distant radar transmitter is focused onto the
          underside of the metalization on the opposite side of the lens; here it
          is reflected, and focused back onto the radar station.

          • NavySubNuke

            Ah perfect! Thanks.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    Question- I have noticed a few times that the commander of the Essex Amphibious Squadron is the former commander of the USS Independence, featured in the widely-available documentary about the two LCSs (USS Freedom & USS Independence) … Does the commanding officer of an Amphibious Squadron sail with the ARG/ESG/etc. on the ship? IE, is there the equivalent of “flag quarters” for him on the Essex? Just curious… I have noticed that the COs of a LHD are Captains, as the “PHIBRON” commanders are also Captains. And as the commander of the “PHIBRON”, he’s in charge of all the ships sailing together?

  • RobM1981

    I remain a bit skeptical about the F-35, when compared to other naval air assets, but not when compared to the Harrier. The 35B is a quantum leap beyond that AV-8. The Harrier proved itself in Argentina, but that was something like 40 years ago.

    I like seeing the Wasps deployed as fighter flight decks.

    • delta9991

      The F-35 is a great leap over the Hornets too with its range, sensors, and stealth. As you were saying though, it’s really a massive improvement for the Marines.

      Wasp/America light carriers are really the way to go for all the “light carrier” talk we hear about. Couple a small air wing of 12-16 F-35s with 8-10 MV-22s and you have a potent multi-role force that’s perfect for quick reaction in low-medium threat environments. Areas like the Med and around Africa would be well serviced by these reaction fleets

      • RunningBear

        Essex ARG has; 6 F-35B, 10 MV-22B, 4 CH-53E and 2 MH-60R? on the deck for photo. I’m not sure that bringing 6-10 more “Bee”s on deck is possible from a logistics support standpoint (you don’t fly without supply). Weapons alone for 16 F-35B Block3F would be a big foot print on the Essex. It will be interesting when the America is sent on this mission, for these questions. V-22/ 15Klb. sling load and H-53/ 36Klb. sling load for cross decking from LPD/ LSD; F-135-PW-600 is 3,750+ lb. plus fan, etc.
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

        • Rocco

          Agreed! The F-35B is too big to have anymore than 8 jets along with its other mix of ospreys & helo’s & marine landing force equipment. The America class can handle 22! In my opinion lessons learned from the Wasp class the America class should of been lengthened to 900’ From it’s 844’ . Now you can call it a light carrier!

    • Duane

      What is to be skeptical about the world’s most lethal fighter?

      The Marines’ F-35B is to date undefeated in aerial combat exercises (even better than the USAF A model in Red Flag at 24:1 kill ratio) against all other fourth gen fighters. The Israelis have been using their F-35I birds with impunity against Iranian operated S-300s and then went on to destroy hundreds of Iranian weapons caches in southern Syria for the last year and a half … the Israeli F-35 pilots even buzzed Assad’s palace in Damascus after blowing up their first S-300!

      • RunningBear

        “the Israeli F-35 pilots even buzzed Assad’s palace in Damascus after blowing up their first S-300!”….a real shame……that Assad didn’t take any selfies with the F-35Is!!!……one can always hope!
        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

      • Graeme Rymill

        The Israeli F-35s blowing up an S-300 installation in or near Damascus is just an unsubstantiated rumour. There is no evidence that S-300s or S-400s have ever been deployed in the Damascus area.

        • Duane

          BS

          The Israelis themselves officially stated that they’ve been using F-35s to destroy Iranian operated S-300s, and the Iranians themselves admitted the destruction of their S-300s, and blamed it on the Russians for “giving away the codes” to the IDF (which is silly, but they could not bear to admit defeat).

          Iran deployed many S-300s in southern Syria, mainly to defend their large number of weapons caches that serve to funnel Iranian weapons to Hezbollah, including ironically, Iranian S-300 SAM radars and missiles and launchers destined for Lebanon. The Israelis issued public warnings to Syria and Iran that the IDF would not tolerate such weapons in Lebanon. The Iranians ignored the warnings, so the IDF’s F-35Is went to work.

          One of those S-300s that you claim do not exist shot down an Israeli F-16 earlier this year, which the Israelis acknowledged.

          Do you work for RT?

          • Graeme Rymill

            You are reporting media rumours as fact. There is zero evidence that the Iranians have deployed the S-300 to Syria. The same applies to the Iranian developed S-300 clone – the Bavar 373.
            The media reports that name the missile that shot down the Israeli F-16 say it was an S-200 or sometimes they say an S-200 or a Buk.
            I realise you want badly to believe an F-35 destroyed an Iranian S-300 site in Syria and then buzzed Assad’s palace but wishing doesn’t make it true.

          • NavySubNuke

            “The Israelis themselves officially stated that they’ve been using F-35s to destroy Iranian operated S-300s”
            Source?
            “Iran deployed many S-300s in southern Syria”
            Source?
            “One of those S-300s that you claim do not exist shot down an Israeli F-16 earlier this year, which the Israelis acknowledged”
            The acknowledged it but they admitted in their own acknowledgement that it was actually an SA-5/S-200:
            “The investigation into the incident, which was presented to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, determined that the advanced planning for the operation was done properly, and the intelligence for the mission was sufficient, leading to the successful destruction of the targets, which were marked prior to the retaliatory strike.
            In total, the Syrian aerial defense apparatus launched 27 missiles at IAF planes throughout the night and early morning as events unfolded, 13 of them were fired while Israeli jets were attacking the Iranian drone’s control and command center. One of the missiles, a large long-range outdated SA-5 missile, hit the Israeli F-16.
            The warning systems in the F-16 that was hit were found to be in order and alerted the pilot and navigator of the threat on time. The seven other planes that went out on the bombing mission were all able to defend themselves from enemy missiles by and completed their tasks successfully.
            Despite this, the downed F-16’s team failed to deploy countermeasures.
            The pilot and navigator failed to take heed of the SA-5 missile, which locked onto their plane. The Israel Air Force determined that to be a “professional error.” (Source: https://www . ynetnews . com/articles/0,7340,L-5131594,00 . html) [note: simply remove the extra spaces added to get it through the spam filter]

      • Rocco

        Source Duane!!

      • NavySubNuke

        File this one under: “I’ll take lies and hyperbole for $500, Alex”

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        Fighter? That would be the F-22. The F-35 is not a fighter. Air to ground maybe and close air support but fighter?

    • PolicyWonk

      The Wasps have accounted for themselves well in that respect. I’d like to see a few more LHA-6 (America) class ships built, and used as CVL’s, for even more capacity/coverage.

      Buy a set of the light AEW kits from the British (they use ’em on choppers), and adapt them for the V-22’s. Then adapt a few more with fuel bladders, bolt on a ski-jump, and you’re good to go.

      • Rocco

        Not in agreement

  • alsotps

    What a long article saying that a specific aircraft type will be used in combat if/when necessary. Could this infomercial by the military have anything to do with controversy over the F-35? Why the felt necessity to justify this situation?

    • delta9991

      Probably because the question of “are you going to use them?” Is always asked. If they weren’t used, people would ask why they didn’t. Darned if you do, darned if you don’t. This just clarified to the world (internet trolls/naysayers and Russia alike) that the F-35 is in theatre and commanders are not afraid to deploy them should they be needed.

    • PolicyWonk

      POGO recently reported (Aug 31st) there are 19 lingering Category 1 problems with the F-35, meaning they “may cause death, severe injury, or severe occupational illness; may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system; critically restrict the combat readiness capabilities of the using organization; or result in a production line stoppage.”

      • Duane

        Virtually the same number of deficiencies or more exist on every warbird on the planet.

        As of today, not even 50% of the US Navy’s fleet of Super Hornets are even flyable. Though that is up from 33% a year ago.

      • RunningBear

        POGO’s comments on IOT&E will wind down in Nov18 when the two dozen F-35A/B/C Block 3F version 30R02, kickoff the testing.

        This will support Nov19 “Full Production” of F-35s and “maybe” F-35C IOC by Jun19!

        IMHO
        Fly Navy
        🙂

        • PolicyWonk

          I, for one, hope you are correct!

          The less-than-glorious history of the program makes that a tough call in my view. But we’ll all find out soon enough.

          Given the costs, problems, and delays in this program – I for one hope its worth it – because there are few (if any) alternatives.

          • RunningBear

            Hardware systems should be “no?” problem.

            The software is beyond a reference from legacy integrated systems, at best it will be “a point in time”.

            – The MDF from only the US libraries is updated constantly by the intelligence agencies and is segregated by geographical operation areas, at best it will be “a point in time”.

            – The interfaces for the future enhancements are yet to be developed but have to be indicated and allowed to expand (to what degree can it grow?), ie. C2D2, Block4.1,2,3,etc., at best it will be “a point in time”.

            …..not my job!
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

    • RunningBear

      This is their new sports car!! and they want everyone to see it!
      IMHO
      Fly Navy
      🙂

  • Masau80

    How do they get to Syria without organic tankers? They will need USAF tankers after launch, after the 700 mile transit to Syrian airspace, before the 700 mile transit back to the gulf, and then an overhead tanker prior to recovery. There is nothing magical about flying over Syria. They do the exact same thing as the legacy Hornets, and Super Hornets do – as well as the Strike Eagles and Vipers from the Air Force. Their “network”, like everyone else is Link-16 via AWACS. It is not the high end fight that the platform was designed for, just on-call CAS in a more crowded sky. The F-35 pilot is not orchestrating the show, the AWACS is. But it certainly is something that the Harrier couldn’t support.

    • Duane

      Tanking most likely via USAF KC-135 or KC-10. The tankers don’t care if it’s a USAF bird or USMC. Plenty of tankers available in theater (the AF operates over 470 large tankers).

      Operating in a constricted theater crammed with potential adversarial warbirds and sophisticated air defense systems (S-300s and S-400s) is what is “special”. That is not a routine operating environment for any of our fighters. Within the last year a SH shot down an enemy attack aircraft that was going after our Syrian coalition partners, and 2 years ago the Turks (coalition partners) shot down 2 Russian fighters at the Syrian border – all under the watchful eyes of unfriendly air defenses. The Israelis lost a F-16 to a S-300 SAM in Syria earlier this year, and responded by sending out their F-35Is to take out the defending, Iranian operated SAMs.

      There is nothing routine or un-dangerous in this part of the world.

      • Masau80

        Still will require increased USAF assets (although I’d rather see hours added to KC-135s than to Super Hornets). Of course there is nothing routine or un-dangerous there. The Marines are using the F-35 because all their legacy Hornets are broke and the AV-8B doesn’t have the legs for the mission. Otherwise, they are flying the same mission profiles that everyone else has/is. The Marines are just happy that they have a new combat jet to fly.

        • Duane

          The Marines are using the F-35B in the middle east at this moment mainly because the fighter air wing on the Essex is made up solely of F-35Bs. Within a few years that will be true of all of the Marines’ aviation amphibs, as the Lightning IIs replace the retiring Harriers.

          • RunningBear

            353 F-35B (16/ sqd) and 80 F-35C (10/ sqd)

            Fly Navy
            🙂

        • NavySubNuke

          Why would it require increased USAF assets? The tankers are already there and I doubt they are 100% committed every day such that new tankers would be required. We aren’t exactly talking about 50+ F-35B’s suddenly rolling into theater — this is an amphib not a super carrier.

          • Masau80

            Because, unlike a CVN, the LHD has no organic tanking capability (for post launch overhead and pre-recovery). The big wing tankers have to assume that role – even one F-35B would necessitate a tanker. The big wings may not be 100% committed, but now you are talking at at least two additional missions for every fly day. They would have to build that additional capacity into their rotations, maintenance, crew days, etc.

          • RunningBear

            The MV-22B roll-on/roll-off kit (10Klb. capacity) will allow Marines to refuel F-35B Lightning II and F/A-18 Hornet jets.

            Design of the V-22 Aerial Refueling System, also known as VARS, will be done at Cobham’s Iowa facility, with delivery slated to begin in 2018 after completion of the system’s testing and analysis.

            Great minds think alike!
            IMHO
            Fly Navy
            🙂

          • Masau80

            That is true, and it will be heavily used. But for the jets that are currently in the gulf, they need big wing tanker support. Hope VARS works – I think the Navy will add that capability to the CMV-22B.

    • RunningBear

      700 miles why??

      Are we attacking Shias in Iraq or Iran, if not then I would think flying 600 miles round trip from the Med across Lebanon (everyone does!!) or getting permission from Israel to fly into Syria to attack Sadam’s old ISIS buddies up in Hajin would be “no problemo”! Shirley the ARG is not going into the Gulf to ruffle Iran’s tail feathers, are they?
      IMHO
      Fly Navy
      🙂

      • Duane

        Don’t call me Shirley!

        😁

      • Masau80

        To get from the 5th Fleet AOR (otherwise know as the Persian Gulf) to Syria, jets have to fly all the way through Iraq – 700 miles give or take, depending on where the ship is.

  • Kim Chul Soo

    I thought Israel used the F-35 in combat?

    • RunningBear

      Yes, the F-35I built for Israel from the F-35A, who at the end of 2018 will have fifteen in Israel.

      Fly Navy
      🙂

  • johnbull

    It’s a formidable plane. If they see combat, may they do us proud and the pilots come back safely.

    • Rocco

      Kudos

  • b2

    Beware. I wish them luck and success with the new shiny object, but I smell leveraged spin and hubris…sniff sniff.

    The fact is, fifty F-35Bs can’t do what a CVW (even w/65 aircraft) does….Not even close sportsfans (USNI) and those that make the comparisons are “wrong”. The Nimitz and the ARG ship may “both be fruit” but one is a grape and the other a large apple.

    • Al L.

      One is an apple and one is an orange. While a CVW has a lot of influence it cant hold territory. An ARG/MEU can. They both have their place in influencing out comes.

      • b2

        Hold territory? MGod man what are you talking about? One is Big Navy “power projection, War at Sea”, and the other is niche amhibious warfare subset adequate for 4th world assymetrical warfare at best. That’s a fact. Even Joint Doctrine documents that.

        • Al L.

          “That’s a fact. Even Joint Doctrine documents that.”

          Really? Why dont you find a quote in joint doctrine saying its “a niche amphibious warfare subset adequate for 4th world assymetrical warfare at best”

          Thats your own “leveraged spin and hubris”

    • RunningBear

      1,600+ Marines on the LHA/D would agree.

      Take the high ground!
      IMHO

      Fly Navy
      🙂

  • George Hollingsworth

    Eleven US Navy supercarriers and none in the eastern Med, the Persian Gulf, or related waters? What gives?

    • NEC338x

      Original response awaiting USNI moderation.

    • b2

      George- I read a couple months ago in USNI SECDEF is experimenting- IE, becoming less perdictable, etc.
      Seems like only the budgeteers have anyhting to gain. A real, up round, BG/CSG sure takes a lot to train up. However, maybe there is a better way to “skin the cat”. All I know is that since the late1950s USN rotational deplyments of carrier battle groups have kept the fundamenta peace and been there when/where we needed them..

      An anecdote I remember is Jul 1990 when CVN-70 left the NAS and left a gap in coverage…Saddam marched into Kuwait the next month.. Rememebr?

      What irksome to me is the similarity clamis betweext tan ARG and a CSG/BG with a Nimitz class in this and other articles…Yes, they are “both fruit but one is a grape and the other a meaty apple”… No comparison and IMO dangerous and foolish to do so…Solly.

    • RunningBear

      Iwo Jima ARG chopped out of 5th fleet mid-July18 and now the Essex ARG has chopped in to 5th fleet mid-Aug18 with the F-35s.

      Fly Navy
      🙂

  • thumpgunner

    Maybe the Navy will be able to use these type ships as they used the escort and Independence class in WW2, save on building and maintaining more of the way over priced FORD class carriers.

    • RunningBear

      We may know the answer to that, when the Essex ARG returns home!

      Fly Navy
      🙂

    • Rocco

      Agreed

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    The US’s mercenary terrorists are in danger! Send in the Marines!

  • magic3400

    In Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan what’s going to oppose a F-35…NOTHING.