On 9 September 2021, the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing announced that Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242 Bats ('DT-xx') operating the F-35B Lightning II from MCAS Iwakuni (Japan) attained Initial Operational Capability (IOC).
The fighter attack squadron is, next to VMFA-121 Green Knights ('VK-xx'), the second USMC combat-capable forward-deployed 5th generation fighter squadron assigned to the western pacific. Under the 2019 USMC Aviation Plan, the squadron will receive a full complement of sixteen F-35Bs by fiscal year 2023.
On 16 October 2020, Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA(AW)) 242 was redesignated into Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242 during the change of command and re-designation ceremony at home base MCAS Iwakuni (Japan). So less tha a year later, the unit attained IOC.
Photo by US Navy