Erie, Pennsylvania native 1st Lt. Catherine Stark earned her wings Friday at a ceremony in Kingsville, Texas, and in doing so became the first female Marine to be assigned to the U.S. Navy’s F-35C fleet replacement squadron.
The F-35 Lightning II, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, is a fifth-generation fighter designed to replace the F-18 in the Navy and Marine Corps and the F-22 in the U.S. Air Force. Of the three models, the F-35C is designed specifically to take off and land on aircraft carriers.
Stark, 24, is a 2012 Mercyhurst Preparatory School graduate and the daughter of Bud and Beata Stark of Erie. She will soon begin training to fly the F-35C Lightning II at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, California.
“It’s incredible,” Bud Stark said of his daughter. “She’s just an amazing girl. She’s got all areas covered.” . . .