An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

ArticleCS - Article View
NEWS | April 22, 2020

USS America, 31st MEU with Marine Corps F-35B fighter aircraft operate in South China Sea

By 1st Lt. Demond Glover

The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced), including the F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft detachment, began conducting flight operations in the South China Sea April 16, 2020, aboard forward deployed amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6).

Over the course of daily flight operations, F-35Bs typically complete qualifications and mission rehearsals, with control support from Sailors and Marines aboard the America. The Navy-Marine Corps team ensures the Air Combat Element is primarily focused on Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations in support of ground and combat landing force missions, and defense of the amphibious task force, according to Col. Robert Brodie, commanding officer of the 31st MEU.

“Our F-35B’s multi-role fighter capability is a crucial component of the 31st MEU’s ability to rapidly deploy combat power in support of our Marine Air-Ground Task Force and Naval integration throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said Brodie. “While at sea, the Navy-Marine Corps team trains and develops a lethal force capable of accomplishing a full scope of military operations.”

With short takeoff and vertical landing capability, the F-35B fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft deploys rapidly from amphibious shipping to support area denial, long range reconnaissance and fire support, according to Capt. Luke Frost, commanding officer of the America.

“Marine Corps aviation is second to none, and America is proud to integrate with the ‘Dragons’ of VMM-265,” said Frost. “In the 31st MEU and the America Expeditionary Strike Group, you’ve got our Navy’s newest and most capable amphibious assault carrier forward deployed and partnered with the most lethal and effective air combat element the Marine Corps has ever fielded. Together, the Navy-Marine Corps team remains ready to operate freely, as international law permits.”

“This credible capability in the South China Sea demonstrates our enduring seven-decade commitment to the prosperity and security of the Indo-Pacific,” said Frost.

Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and the 31st MEU forward-deployed in Okinawa, Japan, continuously operate together to accomplish a wide variety of training missions and real-world operations throughout the region, according to Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander of ESG-7.

"The USS America-31st MEU, in the truest sense, embodies what our Chief of Naval Operations describes as Integrated American Naval Power," said Kacher. “Whether launching strikes with the F-35Bs or landing a raid force using the MV-22B Ospreys, they are all launched from the most advanced amphibious aircraft carrier in the world and no one else can field that kind of versatile combat power. Together we are a truly exceptional fighting force."

America, flagship of the America Expeditionary Strike Group, 31st MEU team, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.


Google Translation Disclaimer

  • Google Translate, a third party service provided by Google, performs all translations directly and dynamically.
  • Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, has no control over the features, functions, or performance of the Google Translate service.
  • The automated translations should not be considered exact and should be used only as an approximation of the original English language content.
  • This service is meant solely for the assistance of limited English-speaking users of the website.
  • Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information translated.
  • Some items cannot be translated, including but not limited to image buttons, drop down menus, graphics, photos, or portable document formats (pdfs).
  • Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, does not directly endorse Google Translate or imply that it is the only language translation solution available to users.
  • All site visitors may choose to use similar tools for their translation needs. Any individuals or parties that use Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, content in translated form, whether by Google Translate or by any other translation services, do so at their own risk.
  • IE users: Please note that Google Translate may not render correctly when using Internet Explorer. Users are advised to use MS Edge, Safari, Chrome, or Firefox browser to take full advantage of the Google Translate feature.
  • The official text of content on this site is the English version found on this website. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of the information contained in translated text, refer to the English version on this website, it is the official version.