#1485 F-35B Lightning II

F-35B Lightning II
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£10.00 €11.15 $12.40
43.8 cm x 29.2 cm
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Print
F-35B Lightning II
169164 '01'
VMFA-121
MCAS Iwakuni, Japan
US - Marine Corps
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Description

Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1485 - 169164 '01', F-35B Lightning II, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 was established as Marine Fighter Squadron 121 on 24 June, 1941 at Quantico, Virginia. During WWII, the squadron operated the F4F-4 WILDCAT and later the F4U-6 CORSAIR as charter members of the Cactus Air Force, fighting in defense of Guadalcanal and other locations, including Espiritu Santo, Turtle Bay, Bougainville, and Emirau. During the conflict, the squadron set the standard for all Marine Fighter squadrons by downing 209 Japanese aircraft. In the process, the squadron produced 14 Fighter Aces, including Medal of Honor recipient Joe Foss. After WWII, the squadron assumed reserve status at Naval Air Station (NAS) Glenview, Illinois. Returning to active duty in 1961, the squadron was redesignated Marine Attack Squadron 121 and relocated to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) El Toro, California, flying the Douglas AD-2 SKYRAIDER. During the Korean War, the squadron insignia depicted Al Capp’s “Wolf Girl” (affectionately known as “Bombing Betty”) from the comic strip Lil’ Abner. The feared “Wolf Raiders” of VMA-121 dropped more bomb tonnage than any other Navy or Marine Corps squadron during that conflict. After a lengthy post-armistice tour in Korea, the squadron returned to MCAS El Toro and assumed its role in the Unit Deployment Program (UDP) with scheduled rotations to Japan. In 1967, the squadron entered the jet age by transitioning to the F9F-8 COUGAR, the first Marine Corps aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Shortly thereafter in late 1968, the Green Knights transitioned again to the A-4C SKYHAWK while continuing their Far East deployment schedule, which included carrier deployments aboard the USS TICONDEROGA and USS CORAL SEA in the early 1960’s. During the Vietnam War, the squadron twice deployed to Chu Lai Air Base, Republic of Vietnam in support of Marine Corps expeditionary forces committed to the theater. In 1969, the squadron was re-equipped with the A-6E INTRUDER and redesignated as Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 121. Flying the INTRUDER for 20 years, the squadron supported various Marine Corps commitments with numbers Western Pacific deployments and two carrier tours aboard USS RANGER. In 1989, the squadron was redesignated VMFA(AW)-121 as it began operating the new F/A-18D Night Attack HORNET aircraft. In January 1991, the squadron deployed to Shaikh Isa, Bahrain and flew combat sorties in support of the First Marine Expeditionary Force during the six weeks of Operation Desert Storm air campaign. Following hostilities, the Green Knights returned to their unit deployment rotation and relocated to NAS Miramar, California in August 1994. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, VMFA(AW)-121 deployed to Peter J. Ganci (Manas) Air Base, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) until October 2002. After a rapid turnaround, the Green Knights deployed in January 2006 to Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait in support of Operation Southern Watch (OSW) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and dropped more bomb tonnage than any other Navy or Marine Corps squadron during OIF I. After a brief tour in the Western Pacific from March to September, the squadron returned to the Middle East, flying from February to September 2007 out of Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, in support of OIF 06-08. In September 2008, March 2010 and December 2011 the squadron deployed as part of the Unit Deployment Program to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. While deployed, the squadron operated in Australia, Guam, Japan, Okinawa, and South Korea, participating in several international exercises. In September 2012, the squadron moved to MCAS Yuma, Arizona in preparation for the transition to a new aircraft, the F-35B LIGHTNING II. In November 2012, the squadron was officially redesignated VMFA-121 and began the first fleet F-35B flight operations of any military service in January 2013. In July 2015 the squadron reached another milestone as it achieved the first F-35B Initial Operating Capability. The squadron became the first forward deployed F-35 squadron in history as it moved permanently to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in January 2017. VMFA-121 earned the Lawson H. M. Sanderson Marine Attack Squadron of the Year Award in 1979, the Robert M. Hanson Marine Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year Award in 2001 and 2016 and the Commandant’s Aviation Trophy in 2003.

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