F-35B Lightning II- Ready to Strike
U.S. Marines and Sailors with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) wait for flight operations to begin while F-35B Lightning IIs with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th MEU, are refueled in preparation for the F-35B's first combat strike, Sept. 27, 2018. The Essex is the flagship for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th MEU, is deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Francisco J. Diaz Jr./Released)