First female Marine to pilot F-35 jet trained right here in Mississippi

Published 8:17 am Thursday, August 15, 2019

A former commercial helicopter pilot has become the first female Marine to pilot the F-35, a next-generation joint strike fighter aircraft.

The Island Packet reports Capt. Anneliese Satz completed her fighter jet training this summer at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Satz trained in Mississippi, Florida and Texas over the past four years before arriving in Beaufort last summer to train in the F-35B Lightning II. A station statement says Satz’s aircraft is a supersonic stealth vessel designed to operate from short-field bases and near front-line combat zones.

Flying is nothing new to Satz – prior to joining the Marine Corps she earned her commercial pilots license flying a Robinson R44 Helicopter which she attributes to preparing her for a career in military aviation.

Over the last four years, Satz, 29, has completed Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination in Pensacola, Florida, Primary Flight Training in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she learned to fly the T-6 Texan II, then to Meridian, Mississippi, where she flew the T-45C Goshawk advanced jet training aircraft. Upon completing her initial trainings, she was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, the “Warlords,” to train on her assigned fleet aircraft: the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. It’s designed to operate from austere, short-field bases and a range of air-capable ships operating near front-line combat zones.

“At each of my training schools I did my best,” said Satz, a Boise, Idaho native. “I truly believe that showing up prepared and working diligently are two major keys to success.”

“The first flight in an F-35 is by yourself,” she said. “The syllabus thoroughly prepares you for that first time you take off and for every flight after that, it’s an exhilarating experience.”

During her four years of training, Satz earned over 300 flight hours, spent a significant amount of time practicing in simulators while also studying for written and practical application exams; and although training and learning never stops, she will now be assigned to her first operational unit, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the Green Knights in Iwakuni, Japan.

“I’m very grateful for the instructors, the maintainers, and countless others at 501 who lent me their expertise and time while I was going through the syllabus,” Satz said. “This is a phenomenal program made possible by all of their hard work. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from all of them. I am incredibly excited to get to VMFA-121 and look forward to the opportunity to serve in the Fleet Marine Forces.”

From staff and wire reports.