The Marine Corps is offering up to $280,000 to certain pilots as it faces shortages in certain billets, Corps officials have announced.
"The aviation populations targeted are Captains (O-3s) and Majors (O-4s) within the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8 Harrier, MV-22 Osprey, C-130 Hercules, UH-1 Huey, AH-1 Cobra, and CH-53 Stallion communities," Lt. Gen. Michael Rocco, deputy commandant for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, said in a statement.
In February, the commander of the U.S. Naval Air Forces proclaimed that the Navy's F-35C Joint Strike Fighter was "ready for operations, ready for combat and ready to win" — even though the Navy's own testing data says otherwise.
As it returns from its first combat deployment, the Marines' version of the F-35 is no longer a baby-faced boot.
F-35Bs flew more than 100 combat sorties against the Taliban and ISIS while deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, said Lt. Col. Kyle Shoop, commander of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211.
The last few weeks have been a roller coaster for the F-35, from its first combat airstrike, to its first crash, to the Pentagon ordering the entire F-35 fleet grounded as it inspects a possibly-dangerous aircraft part.