The Marine Corps on April 2, 2010, activated the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 at Eglin AFB, Fla., where it will train pilots in the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant under Air Education and Training Command's 33rd Fighter Wing at the joint F-35 schoolhouse. This marked the first time a marine unit has been embedded with a USAF wing. Despite the F-35 restructure announced in February, Air Force senior leaders have said the Pentagon plans to provide early delivery of F-35 training assets. VMFAT-501 expects to receive its first STOVL aircraft this fall, as does the 33rd FW for the first F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant. Here, the F-35 Lightning II conventional takeoff and landing test aircraft dubbed AA-1 taxis down the flight line at Eglin AFB, Fla., April 23, 2009.
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