Hagel Talks with F-35 Pilots, Maintainers at Eglin AFB

American Forces Press Service // July 11, 2014

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., July 11, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was busy here yesterday on his first visit to this Air Force base on the Florida panhandle, talking to pilots from the 33rd Fighter Wing, meeting with and thanking service members and briefing local and national reporters. 

[...] Hagel has prioritized investment in the F-35 because the multirole aircraft has advanced capabilities that he and others agree are essential to maintain the nation’s aerial dominance and confront emerging threats, Defense Department officials said.

The 33rd Fighter Wing here is home to the F-35 Integrated Training Center, which is responsible for training F-35 pilots and maintainers for the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force and some international partners. The aircraft has three variants, designated as the A, B and C models. The first F-35 arrived at Eglin in July 2011. Today, the base has 49.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.