The Navy will deactivate an F-35C training squadron at Eglin AFB next year as part of a move to consolidate its Joint Strike Fighter operations on the West Coast at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. The squadron’s 29 officers and 239 enlisted personnel likely will move to an F-35C training squadron at Lemoore, reported Navy Times. The consolidation will co-locate the “production of pilots directly into the operational squadrons scheduled for transition to F-35C,” according to a Navy directive. The extra aircraft, pilots and maintainers at Lemoore are intended to help meet the testing and evaluation requirements for the Navy’s first operational fleet F-35C squadron. Eglin had been the home of an F-35B training squadron for the Marine Corps as well until it was relocated to MCAS Beaufort, S.C., in 2015. … North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) proposed exempting military pensions from state income tax in his annual budget address earlier this month. The plan is partially designed to expand the state’s workforce and help fill thousands of open jobs, reported Military Times. North Dakota is one of only eight states that fully taxes military retirement pay. “The benefits start to accrue if we can get people to choose to stay in North Dakota versus move out of North Dakota,” Burgum said. The idea would cost the state an estimated $3 million in foregone revenue annually. Burgum also said he supports legislation introduced in the North Dakota House barring the state from collecting income tax from military personnel serving in the active and reserve components.
Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell