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Commander's Message - YOU made Air Force history!

First ever take off of an USMC F-35B STOVL Joint Strike Fighter aircraft following modifications at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill AFB, Utah June 18.  The aircraft was undergoing a functional check flight. (Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd/Release)

First ever take off of an USMC F-35B STOVL Joint Strike Fighter aircraft following modifications at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill AFB, Utah June 18. The aircraft was undergoing a functional check flight. (Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd/Release)

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, working together with Pratt & Whitney partners, was given the challenge of retrofitting 10 U.S. Marine Corps F135 engines in a 12-month time period in order to support USMC initial operating capability. The 10th engine was shipped to the customer on Wednesday. All retrofits were accomplished while also qualifying tools, validating and demonstrating tech data and performing unscheduled Fan Module Maintenance in support of the F-35 fleet. “I’m very proud of the team’s accomplishment and look forward to the continued success of the program and partnership,” said Kevin O’Connor, OC-ALC vice director. (Air Force photo by Kelly White/Released)

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, working together with Pratt & Whitney partners, was given the challenge of retrofitting 10 U.S. Marine Corps F135 engines in a 12-month time period in order to support USMC initial operating capability. The 10th engine was shipped to the customer on Wednesday. All retrofits were accomplished while also qualifying tools, validating and demonstrating tech data and performing unscheduled Fan Module Maintenance in support of the F-35 fleet. “I’m very proud of the team’s accomplishment and look forward to the continued success of the program and partnership,” said Kevin O’Connor, OC-ALC vice director. (Air Force photo by Kelly White/Released)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Airmen of the Air Force Sustainment Center,

Yesterday, while visiting Hill AFB and the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, I was able to witness the first-ever take-off of a USMC F-35B STOVL (i.e. Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing) after undergoing depot-level modifications at an Air Force depot.  The jet was taking off for a functional check flight.

This was a great moment for AFSC and our Air Force as we made airpower history.

It was eye-watering to watch one of our dedicated civilian maintainers, Mr. Jon Minter, launch the jet and Lt Col Kevin "Sonar" Hall --the first-ever Air Force depot test pilot to be qualified in the F-35B, skillfully fly it.

For background, OO-ALC accepted this F-35B and one other F-35B with only 6-days of notice; then spent 136 intense days working through several issues to accomplish a number of incredibly complex modifications.

The OO-ALC team, together with our Lockheed Martin partners, and supported by the 75th Air Base Wing, leveraged the tenets of the AFSC Way to plan and execute an array of structural and system upgrades. There is more work to do, although this jet will be a part of the first number of jets the USMC requires to achieve Initial Operational Capability, the team is on target to produce a second Marine Corps IOC jet by the end of June 2015.

I couldn't be prouder of you and the support we're providing to our joint partners.  The Marines were counting on us and you delivered.

My congratulations to the entire team.  YOU are delivering combat power for America!

Your fellow Airman,

LKL II

LEE K. LEVY II
Lieutenant General, USAF
Commander