When Frank Sinatra sang, “Luck be a lady tonight,” he clearly had no idea he would run into a lady like this — entrusted to fly America’s latest, greatest, Stealth fighter jet.
A commercial helicopter pilot from Idao has become the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly an F-35 fighter jet, Fox News reported.
Marine Capt. Anneliese Satz, a 29-year-old Boise native, completed her training program this past June at South Carolina’s Air Station Beaufort, the Marine Corps announced last week.
Satz’s training lasted four years, taking her to bases in Florida, Texas and Mississippi, the report said.
“The first flight in an F-35 is by yourself,” Satz said. “The syllabus thoroughly prepares you for that first time you take off and for every flight after that, it’s an exhilarating experience.”
Now, with over 300 flight hours under her belt, Satz is set to pilot the F-35B Lightning II as part of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the Green Knights, in Iwakuni, Japan.
“I am incredibly excited to get to VMFA-121 and look forward to the opportunity to serve in the Fleet Marine Forces,” Satz said.
The aircraft is designed to operate from short-field bases and near front-line combat zones, the Corps said.
Satz said her time flying a commercial Robinson R44 Helicopter prepared her for a career as a military pilot. She also thanked her instructors and other members of her training squadron.
“I’m very grateful for the instructors, the maintainers, and countless others at 501 who lent me their expertise and time while I was going through the syllabus,” Satz said.
“At each of my training schools I did my best,” she added. “I truly believe that showing up prepared and working diligently are two major keys to success.”
Women have only been allowed to fly in the Marines since 1993, when pilot positions were first made available to women, Military.com reported.
The first woman to fly for the Marine Corps was then-2nd Lt. Sarah Deal, who piloted a heavy-lift helicopter in 1995, according to the outlet. In 2001, Capt. Vernice Armour became the first black female Marine pilot, flying an AH-1W Cobra.
Another female Marine, 1st Lt. Catherine Stark, is also making strides within the Corps’ F-35 community.
After completing flight training in August aboard Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, she became the first female Marine to be selected to train and fly the F-35C.
Stark’s next step is to kick off nine to 12 months of F-35C training at the Navy’s F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron in Lemoore, Calif., according to Capt. Christopher Harrison, a Marine spokesman.