Looking Back on the Career of “Turbo” Tomassetti


06/26/2013: The bio of Col. Tomassetti follows but directly below are photos, which show moments in his career.

[slidepress gallery=’tomassetti’]


  •  The first photo is from 1986 at the time of his graduation from USMC Officers Basic School.
  •  The second and third photos are from 1987 and 1988 during flight training.
  •  The fourth photo shows some young gun Harrier pilots from 1990.
  •  The fifth photo is from 1996 and is after his engagement in the Gulf wars.
  •  The sixth, seventh and eighth photos are from the X-35 period, and shot in 2000.
  •  The ninth photo is from 2001 and reflects the “no runway, no problem” attitude of the Harrier community.
  •  The tenth photo shows three legends at once.
  •  The final photo shows “Turbo” in front of his F-35.

Colonel Arthur Tomassetti retired for his last position which was the vice commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, Air Education and Training Command, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The 33rd Fighter Wing serves as the home to the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Training Center, providing pilot and maintenance training for nine international partners.

Colonel Tomassetti earned his commission from the United States Navy Reserve Officer Training Corp in 1986. He completed flight training in Beeville, Texas and Pensacola, Fla. He became a pilot and trained in the AV-8B Harrier in Cherry Point, N. C. He’s served with two Fleet Harrier Squadrons VMA-542 and VMA-513.

Colonel Tomassetti served as a member of the Joint Strike Fighter Test Force and became the lead government pilot for the X-35 Test Team. He was the only U.S. Government pilot to fly all three variants of the X-35 aircraft and flew the first ever Short Take-Off, level supersonic dash and vertical landing accomplished on a single flight.

Colonel Tomassetti was a designated USMC Acquisition Professional Officer holding Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) level 3 certifications in Test and Evaluation and Program Management

He was a command pilot with more than 3,200 hours in 35 different aircraft.


  • 1986 Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, Ill. 1986 USMC Officers Basic School, Va.
  • 1988 USMC AV-8B Flight Training, Cherry Point, N.C.
  • 1992 USMC Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, MAWTS-1, Ariz.
  • 1993 USMC Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps University, Va.
  • 1997 United States Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md.
  • 2001 Master of Science degree in Aviation System, University of Tennessee, Tenn.
  • 2002 USMC Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, Va


  1. Jan 1987-Aug 1989 Flight Training Student Fla., Texas, N.C.
  2. Sept 1989 – June 1991 Flight Officer VMA-542, Cherry Point. N.C.
  3. June 1991- Jan 1992 Director Safety and Standardization VMA-542, Cherry Point., N.C.
  4. July 1992-June 1993 Weapons and Tactics Instructor, VMA-542, Cherry Point, N.C.
  5. July 1993- June 1994 Student Expeditionary Warfare School, Quantico, Va.
  6. June 1994- Oct 1994 Asst Operations Officer, USMC Officers Candidate School, Quantico, Va.
  7. Oct 1994 – Dec 1995 Weapons and Tactics Instructor, VMA-513 Yuma, Ariz.
  8. Dec 1995- Dec 1996 Operations Officer VMA-513, Yuma, Ariz.
  9. Dec 1997- Dec 1997 Test Pilot under instruction, Patuxent River, Md.
  10. Jan 1998-Aug 2001 Test Pilot Joint Strike Fighter Program, VX-23, Md.
  11. June 2002 – June 2004, USMC JSF Program Integrator, Lockheed Martin, Fort Worth, Texas.
  12. June 2004 – Dec 2005, Chief Test Pilot, VX-23, Patuxent River, Md.
  13. Dec 2005 – June 2007, Commanding Officer, VX-23, Patuxent River, Md.
  14. Jun 2007- July 2009, Commanding Officer, Marine Aviation Detachment, Patuxent River, Md.
  15. October 2009 – present, Vice Commander, 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla.


  • Rating: Command Pilot Flight Hours: More than 3,200
  • Aircraft Flown: T-34C, T-2C, TA-4, AV-8B, T-38, F-16, F/A-18A-F, VAAC Harrier, EA-6B, Lear 24, T-45, X-35A/B/C, Tornado GR1, F-4G, F-15, T-7, MIG-21, U-21F, P-3C, NU-1B, U-6A, AT-6, C-12A, DHC2, KC-130J, B-25, TH-6B, OH-58, Gazelle


  • Legion of Merit Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster Air Medal with numeral 3 and “V” device Meritorious Service Medal
  • Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star
  • Navy Achievement Medal


  • Second Lieutenant 13 June 1986
  • First Lieutenant 7 April 1988 Captain 1 November 1990 Major 1 August 1996 Lieutenant Colonel 1 April 2002 Colonel 1 August 2007