Beaufort News

Beaufort pilot is the first woman in the Marines to pilot the F-35. Here’s what’s next

A pilot trained in Beaufort is the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly the F-35, the next-generation joint strike fighter aircraft.

Capt. Anneliese Satz completed training in June at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to become the first female Marine to pilot the fighter jet. She’ll now be assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 in Iwakuni, Japan.

Satz, 29, was a commercial helicopter pilot before joining the Marine Corps, according to a news release. During the past four years with the Marines, she trained in Pensacola, Florida, and Meridian, Mississippi, before coming to Beaufort in July 2018 to train in her assigned jet, the F-35B Lightning II.

“The first flight in an F-35 is by yourself,” Satz said in a release. “The syllabus thoroughly prepares you for that first time you take off and for every flight after that; it’s an exhilarating experience.”

The Boise, Idaho, native has flown more than 300 hours and also trained in a simulator and with numerous exams, according to the Marines.

In 2015, Air force Lt. Col. Christine Mau was the first woman to pilot the F-35.

“Flying is a great equalizer,” Mau said at the time. “The plane doesn’t know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support. You just have to perform.”

Satz’ achievement is another milestone for the Beaufort air base. In July, Maj. Frank Zastoupil became the first F-35 pilot to be chosen for the elite U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight team.

Stephen Fastenau covers northern Beaufort County as a reporter for The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet, where he has worked since 2010 and been recognized with state and national awards. He studied journalism and political science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and lives in Beaufort.
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