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Airmen train Marines on F-35 Intelligence

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emily Smallwood
  • 33rd Fighter Wing

Two Airmen from the 33rd Operation Support Squadron trained Marines from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing on F-35 Lightning II intelligence Sept. 10-21, 2018, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

Master Sgt. Clinton Postlethwait, 33 OSS course chief, and Tech. Sgt. Steven Pagett, 33 OSS noncommissioned officer in charge of weapons and tactics, conducted a mobile training team (MTT) course introducing F-35 intelligence to eight Marines for the A, B and C models.

“The 33 FW has taken the lead on training Air Force, Marine and Navy F-35 intelligence personnel to the same high standard to ensure we are ready to fight as a joint force,” said Maj. Jeremy Hirsch, 33 OSS senior intelligence officer. “This evolution of training at Miramar was the most recent event in the execution of that vision.”


The F-35 Intelligence Formal Training Unit (IFTU), run by the 33 OSS, is an Air Force course modeled after learning from legacy stealth aircraft and redesigned to build on lessons of concepts, principles, and analytic techniques to enhance the lethality and survivability of the F-35.

“We took a five week course and paired it down to two weeks,” said Postlethwait. “The Marines strictly received academic instruction and hit every objective in a short amount of time but still exceeded the normal testing average.”

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is slated to open a new facility to support the F-35B in 2020.

“The Marine Air Wing is getting ahead of the power curve as far as getting the necessary training to help prepare for the acceptance of their F-35’s,” said Pagett.

This unique opportunity strengthens Joint Integration between the services, allowing for better communication and overall mission readiness.

“Disjointed training creates friction in a joint environment due to differences in service culture,” said Hirsch. “Each service may use different terminology or methods to characterize the same object, event or tactic. The time to discover that friction is not in combat, it is in a training environment.”

Hirsch said, the 33 FW and Air Education and Training Command are pursuing an initiative with the U.S. Marine Corps Training and Education Command to pull from the growing Marine Corps F-35 IFTU graduates. Together, they are working towards building a joint instructor cadre that will enhance the course's relevancy and credibility across the F-35 community.