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    Stealth Fighters of the F-35 Depart the Middle East, U.S. Military Ready for Swift Action

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    U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters, deployed to deter Iranian aggression and Russian interference, have concluded their mission in the Middle East as of late September 2023, as confirmed by the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The advanced fighters left the region after bolstering U.S. Navy operations in the Strait of Hormuz and over Syria, marking a significant assertion of American airpower in a geopolitically tense landscape.

    Lt. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich, Air Forces Central (AFCENT) commander, articulated the impact of the F-35 deployment, stating, “What the F-35s did is they gave us additional capacity.” These capabilities were crucial in supporting the U.S. Navy’s combat air patrols over the Strait of Hormuz and contributed to a broader coalition effort over Syria, deterring Russian fighters from engaging in unsafe behavior toward U.S. forces.

    CAMP SPRINGS, MD, USA – SEPTEMBER 19, 2015: Visitors could check out the F-35 Lightning II, from a distance, during the 2015 Joint Base Andrews Air Show held at Joint Base Andrews in Camp Springs Maryland.

    The 421st Air Expeditionary Squadron operated the F-35s which arrived in the region on July 26, prompted by Iranian attacks on commercial shipping and by heightened Russian aerial provocations. In the Persian Gulf, their presence enabled U.S. forces to maintain critical missions while adding sophisticated airpower to back Navy vessels, evidenced by the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group’s deployment, which included Harrier jets capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing operations.

    Farnborugh, UK – 6th July 2016: Lockheed Martin F35B joint strike fighter aircraft in flight at Farnborugh Airshow

    These actions have effectively discouraged Iran from aggressive acts against maritime shipping in the region. Grynkewich further highlighted the moderation of Russian tactics post-deployment, noting, “They still fly in the airspace, but not directly overhead of our forces, so I welcome that shift in behavior.”

    “My view is that deterrence is temporal,” Grynkewich said of Iran. “We’ve surged forces in response to a specific threat. That shows American commitment to the region. It shows that our American strategy has been, with our posture being less than once, shown a commitment to bring forces in for either major exercises for assurance purposes or when a threat requires it. And we certainly did that in this case.”

    NEW WINDSOR, NY – JULY 2, 2017: The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II from Stewart International Airport during the New York Airshow.

    On Oct. 8, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced the Pentagon was enhancing the U.S. presence in the region by deploying the Gerard R. Ford aircraft carrier and cruise missile-carrying ships to the Eastern Mediterranean. The following day, a senior defense official cautioned the militant group Hezbollah to “reconsider” opening a northern front against Israel and stated the U.S. is prepared to intervene militarily.

    related images you might be interested.

    NEW WINDSOR, NY – JULY 2, 2017: The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II from Stewart International Airport during the New York Airshow.
    Chicago, Illinois, USA – August 21, 2016: The Chicago Air and Water Show, F-35 Lightning II performing a high speed pass during the airshow
    NEW WINDSOR, NY – AUGUST 2, 2019: The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II from Stewart International Airport during the New York Airshow.
    Sanford, Florida – October 31, 2020: F-35 Lightning II performance by the F-35 Lightning II Demo Team at the Lockheed Martin Space and Air Show in Sanford, Florida, on October 31, 2020.
    Leeuwarden Netherlands Oct. 4 2021 Weapon Instructor Course F-35 Lightning II landing
    Fairford, UK – 14th July 2022: A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning 2 fighter jet, flying past low in height

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