A commercial helicopter pilot from Idaho has become the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly an F-35 fighter jet, a supersonic stealth aircraft.
Marine Capt. Anneliese Satz, a 29-year-old Boise native, completed her training program this past June at South Carolina’s Air Station Beaufort, the Marine Corps announced last week. Satz’s training lasted four years, taking her to bases in Florida, Texas and Mississippi.
“The first flight in an F-35 is by yourself,” Satz said. “The syllabus thoroughly prepares you for that first time you take off and for every flight after that, it’s an exhilarating experience.”
Now, with over 300 flight hours under her belt, Satz is set to pilot the F-35B Lightning II as part of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the Green Knights, in Iwakuni, Japan. The aircraft is designed to operate from short-field bases and near front-line combat zones, the Corps said.
Satz said her time flying a commercial Robinson R44 Helicopter prepared her for a career as a military pilot. She also thanked her instructors and other members of her training squadron.
Women have only been allowed to fly in the Marines since 1993, when pilot positions were first made available to women, Military.com reported.
The first woman to fly for the Marine Corps was then-2nd Lt. Sarah Deal, who piloted a heavy-lift helicopter in 1995, according to the outlet. In 2001, Capt. Vernice Armour became the first black female Marine pilot, flying an AH-1W Cobra.