By Headquarters Marine Corps
Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brian Bann, an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter pilot, became the first military pilot to accumulate more than 1,000 flight hours in the Lightning II when he delivered a new aircraft to the Marine Aircraft Group 13 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, on Dec. 11.
Bann is currently assigned to the Defense Contract Management Agency Lockheed Martin Fort Worth F-35 production facility in Texas. As the F-35 acceptance pilot and government flight representative, Bann conducts acceptance check flights on all three variants of the F-35 production aircraft, often delivering them to operational F-35 units.
Bann was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 2000 and has accumulated more than 3,000 hours in fighter aircraft. He previously flew the AV-8B Harrier II with the Marine Attack Squadron 211 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 55th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base while serving on an inter-service pilot exchange tour with the Air Force.
On April 8, 2013, Bann became one of the first Marine Corps pilots, and the 81st pilot, to fly the Joint Strike Fighter at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He then served as an F-35B instructor pilot and helped stand up Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.
The Marine Corps currently has more than 100 F-35Bs and F-35Cs in its inventory. They are based at MCAS Yuma, Arizona, MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina, MCAS Miramar, California, and MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.
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