Week of 6/25/2020

It’s Time to Celebrate Pride Month

Every June, we come together and recognize and celebrate Pride Month globally. Pride Month reminds us to promote diverse voices and perspectives and to create an environment where everyone feels respect and can reach their full potential. This month, I urge you to support, champion and be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community.

Tomorrow, F-35 Nation will come together to celebrate Pride Month. Capt. Justin Lennon and Maj. Tyler McBride, two openly gay F-35 pilots at Luke Air Force Base, will conduct the first ever Pride Flight to honor all LGBTQ+ service members.

The two pilots approached their commander with the idea, "10 years ago there are two members of my squadron who couldn't openly be who they are. Now they can and we can mark that occasion," said Lt. Col. Chris Hubbard, who commands the 62nd Fighter Squadron. "I was super excited when they asked me and I think it's important to mark where we are in history."

I am proud of our partners at Luke Air Force Base in their support to the LGBTQ+ community. At Lockheed Martin, we celebrate diversity and inclusion. This year, our Pride Month events occur virtually, but that does not mean we cannot listen, share our voice and explore ways to become a better ally. Let's continue to foster an environment that encourages everyone to bring their full selves to work.

Click Here to view a video on the Pride Flight at Luke Air Force Base

First F-35C TOPGUN Pilots

Last week, two F-35C pilots were the first naval aviators to graduate from TOPGUN. Marine Maj. Derek Heinz and Navy LT William Goodwin are among the latest graduates. Maj. Heinz is a member of the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125, and LT Goodwin is a member of the “Argonauts” of VFA-147, both F-35C Lightning II squadrons based at NAS Lemoore, Calif.

TOPGUN was established in 1968 in response to a study that found U.S. pilots needed better training. Today, TOPGUN graduates play an integral role in their squadrons. Graduates return to their squadrons and train other pilots to command and control the skies in the F-35.

“Our focus is on assisting the operational fleet squadron, pushing the big picture tactics and ensuring that everything is ready to go for the first and subsequent F-35C carrier deployments,” said LT Goodwin. The first F-35C deployment will take place in 2021 aboard the USS Carl Vinson.

“This tremendous accomplishment is yet another step for the F-35C community as we continue to focus on delivering this game-changing aircraft to the fleet,” Joint Strike Fighter Wing commander CAPT Adan Covarrubias

Great work to Maj. Heinz and LT Goodwin and thank you for your service. I look forward to more F-35 TOPGUN graduates.

#ThrowbackThursday: Hat Trick

Nineteen years ago, this week, the X-35B flight test program began. This week marks the anniversary of the first flight of the X-35B, flown by UK pilot, Simon Hargreaves.

A few short weeks later, Lockheed Martin, the U.S. military and the aerospace community took their eyes to the sky to see one of the most significant flight tests in aviation history – Mission X. Marine Corps test pilot, Art “Turbo” Tomassetti, who later became Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ F-35 USMC Program Director, piloted the historic Mission X.

Mission X was Lockheed Martin’s opportunity to demonstrate the world’s first long-range, supersonic Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing stealth aircraft. The mission consisted of a 450-foot short takeoff, climbing to 25,000 feet, making a supersonic dash, and returning to the field for a vertical landing – an aviation first. Mission X was deemed the F-35 program’s Hat Trick.

Today, the F-35B delivers STOVL capabilities customers around the world. At Lockheed Martin, we know the future is in the sky. I look forward to our role in the flight tests of the future. Thank you for looking back with me and please stay safe, wear a mask and take care of each other.