The F-35 Ended A Banner Week With Its First Crash In Its 17-Year History

Bullet Points

A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighter jet out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina crashed just five miles away from the base on Friday, military officials confirmed, the first crash in the aircraft's 17-year history.

  • Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Chris Harrison confirmed to Task & Purpose that the pilot, assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, ejected safely.

  • The incident is a somber coda to an otherwise banner week for the F-35. The crash occurred less than 24 hours after the Pentagon deployed an F-35B from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 on its first combat operation, striking a fixed Taliban target in Afghanistan.
  • Earlier on Friday, Defense News reported that a new contract between the Pentagon and F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin had brought the cost of the standard F-35A variant below $90 million for the first time, a major coup for the most expensive aircraft in U.S. military history.
  • While the incident marks the first crash of the F-35, it's the not the first total loss of the airframe: In 2016, an in-flight fire that erupted in the weapons bay bracket of a Marine F-35B resulted in an emergency landing at MCAS Beaufort. The pilot escaped uninjured.


Kade Kurita (U.S. Army photo(

Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.

"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.

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VISTA —An Iraq war veteran who said he killed a stranger in Oceanside at the behest of a secret agency that controlled his brain was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The sentence for Mikhail Schmidt comes less than a month after a Superior Court jury in North County found Schmidt guilty of first-degree murder of Jacob Bravo, a stranger that Schmidt spotted, followed and stabbed to death on March 8, 2017.

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Strongsville woman convicted of fleecing an ailing Korean War veteran out of much of his life savings was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.

Latasha Wisniewski, 38, feigned a sexual interest in Charles Bauer in late 2017 by taking the 88-year-old widower to a plastic surgeon's office and asking him to pay for breast implants. She then withdrew more than $140,000 from Bauer's accounts over the following months, according to court records.

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Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.

No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.

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Photo: West Point

The U.S. Military Academy identified a cadet who has been missing since Friday evening as 20-year-old Kade Kurita.

A search began for Kurita after he failed to report for a scheduled military skills competition around 5:30pm on Friday. West Point officials said in the Tuesday press release that he is believed to still be nearby.

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