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Lakenheath-based U.S. F-35A squadron nicknamed 'the Valkyries'

The United States' first overseas F-35A squadron, to be stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, will be called the Valkyries, the Air Force announced on Tuesday. Photo by Eli Chevalier/U.S. Air Force
The United States' first overseas F-35A squadron, to be stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, will be called the Valkyries, the Air Force announced on Tuesday. Photo by Eli Chevalier/U.S. Air Force

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The United States' first overseas-based F-35A Lightning II squadron will be called the Valkyries, the Air Force announced Tuesday.

The 48th Fighter Wing wing solicited suggestions for a nickname for the new squadron in the fall of 2020.

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In December, the wing narrowed the pack from 700 unique names to five and conducted an opinion poll, with "Valkyries" besting four other choices: Archangels, Sabres, Sentinels and Swordsmen.

"'Valkyries' epitomizes the force's move toward more inclusivity and equally represents the fifth-generation stealth fighter's air superiority," Lt. Col. Ian McLaughlin, the incoming 495th FS commander, said in a press release.

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"I am honored to be the first commander of the initial U.S. Air Force overseas-based F-35A unit. Like the Valkyries themselves, we'll be vital to determining the fate of our adversaries in the battlespace," McLaughlin said.

The 495th Fighting Squadron is based at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the east of England, which the Air Force describes as an area with extensive Viking and Norse history.

In Norse mythology, Valkyries are female figures who decide who lives or dies in battle.

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The first F-35As are scheduled to arrive at RAF Lakenheath, the first overseas base to host the jets, later this year.

"The amount of support we received, and continue to receive, from the community both here and back home has been overwhelming and highly appreciated," said Col. Jason Camilletti, 48th FW commander.

"Basing F-35s at RAF Lakenheath will be a game changer as it will allow us to further advance interoperability with our European teammates, and is a visible demonstration that we and all of NATO will continue to own the skies."

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