USMC Activates Second F-35B Fleet Replacement Squadron

Above: The tail of one of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502’s new F-35Bs acts as a back drop to the ceremony during which Lt Col Carlton A Wilson and Sgt Maj Gary L Weller assumed command of the new unit during an Activation and Re-designation Ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on June 26.  USMC/ Lance Cpl Nicholas Buss

A SECOND US Marine Corps (USMC) F-35B Lightning II Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) has been formed to meet the increased demand for pilots as more units convert to the type.  An activation and re-designation ceremony for Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502 (VMFAT-502) ‘Flying Nightmares’ was held at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, on June 26, when Lt Col Carlton A Wilson assumed command of the new unit.  It joins the first USMC F-35B FRS, VMFAT-501 ‘Warlords’ which is also based at Beaufort. 

In due course, VMFAT-502 will move top MCAS Miramar, California, to become the USMC’s West Coast F-35B FRS.  The move is scheduled to take place by the end of fiscal year 2022.  The unit originally formed on February 15, 1944 as Marine Attack Squadron 513 (VMF-513) and was last operational with the AV-8B Harrier II as Marine Attack Squadron 513 (VMA-513) but was deactivated on July 12, 2013.