20–The U.S. http://parkerwardspace.denaliinstitute.org/2016/08/03/most-people-like-to-have-some-notes-handy-power-point-slides-or-other-visual-aids-with-them-for-public-speaking-eventsAir Force earlier this month declared the first squadron of new F-35A Lightning II fighter jets finally ready for combat. But don’t expect to see the stealthy “fifth generation” jets show up at Midlands’ bases any time soon. navigate hereAlthough the Marines have an F-35B training squadron stationed in Beaufort, both Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter and McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover were passed over for the first round of what will be the nation’s all-purpose, front-line fighter for the Air Force, Marines and Navy. And the program has been plagued with delays, with production seven years behind schedule, according to numerous reports. “We’re just waiting,” said Steven Creech, a former Sumter mayor who represents that city on the S.C. Military Base Task Force. “In the meantime, we’re just patching up (Shaw’s F-16s) and flying.” The F-35, along with the F-22 stealth fighter jet, will replace practically every fixed wing combat aircraft in the United States’ military during the next 30 years, including Cold War-era aircraft such as the Air Force F-16 fighter, the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the Marines’ EA-6B Prowler and AV-8B Harrier. The new aircraft are scheduled to eventually replace the F-16s at Shaw — the largest F-16 wing in the country — as well as the F-16s at McEntire and the F/A-18s at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
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