The last Marine Corps Harrier pilot completes training and is scheduled to join the last squadron.

The last Marine Corps Harrier pilot completes training and is scheduled to join the last squadron.

The last two AV-8B Harrier II pilots completed training on Friday and received the final 7509 military occupational specialty designation given to qualified pilots of the aircraft, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing said in a statement.

Col. Joshua Corbett and Col. Sven Jorgensen completed their training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. The final flight evaluation was conducted by the AV-8B Harrier II Fleet Replacement Detachment, 14th Marine Aircraft Group, 2nd Marine Wing, and was a low-altitude close training sortie, the statement said.

“The significance of this last replacement pilot training flight for the Harrier community is that it is the beginning of the end as a community,” Corbett said in a statement. “The Harrier evokes more emotional responses than many aircraft I have ever encountered. … All good things must come to an end, and soon our turn will come, but… Not yet.ā€

Both pilots will be assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 223, also known as the “Bulldogs.” The Harrier squadron will be the last squadron in the Marine Corps and is expected to remain active until September 2026, the statement said.

The Marine Corps plans to transition from vertical/short takeoff and landing tactical attack aircraft and F/A-18C/D Hornet aircraft to the F-35 Lightning II by the end of fiscal year 2030, Marine Corps Times previously reported. report. As part of these moves, some Harrier and Hornet squadrons have already been inactivated.

The AV-8B Harrier II first arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, in 1983. Harrier pilots have supported numerous operations around the world, including Operation Desert Storm, Operation Allied Forces in the Former Yugoslavia, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Iraqi Freedom, according to the statement.

“We are excited to see the final two students graduate from FRD and serve in the fleet,” said Lt. Col. Nathaniel Smith, commander of Marine Attack Squadron 223. Here he does a great job supporting both the FRD and VMA missions. ā€

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the year the first AV-8B Harrier II arrived at MCAS Cherry Point.This year updated in 1983.

Zamone ā€œZā€ Perez is a reporter for Military Times. He previously worked in Foreign Policy and Ufaham Africa. He graduated from Northwestern University, where his dissertation researched international ethics and atrocity prevention. You can find him on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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