First U.K. pilots begin training to fly F-35

Published: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM.

In 2014 this group, along with another pilot and 50-odd more maintainers, are set to head to Edwards Air Force Base in California to stand up their own United Kingdom squadron to test the plane for combat use.

While at Eglin, wing commander Jon Millington, who heads the U.K. group, said he and his men effectively are operating as Marines.

“I told them, ‘You are part of that Marine squad. Embrace it. Enjoy it. You won’t have a chance to be a Marine again,’ ” Millington said.

Buchler said being embedded with the Marine Corps is different than the Royal Navy. He’s been taking part in squad runs and has noticed the Marines require much more physical training time, which he said is a good thing.

“It’s going to get my fitness back into shape,” he said.

He was honored to become a temporary part of the force.

“Just to be around the guys, it’s great,” Buchler said. “They’ve bent over backwards to make us feel that we’re Marines, too.”

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