11/23/2016: Twelve F-35B Lightning II’s embarked on USS America (LHA 6) November 19, 2016.
The demonstration is the first shipboard Marine Corps F-35B integration demonstration alongside other Marine Corps Air Combat Element assets.
With over 22,500 flight hours logged, the F-35B is the most versatile aircraft in the skies today.
Video by Cpl. Thor Larson
The background of Col. Rowell IV
Colonel Rowell received his commission upon graduation with Honors from the United States Naval Academy in 1992. Upon completion of the Basic School, he was assigned to flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
After flight training in the T-34, T-2, and TA-4J he was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1995 and reported to VMFAT-101 in MCAS El Toro, California for conversion training in the F/A-18 Hornet.
Captain Rowell reported to MAG-11 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, in 1996 for duty with VMFA(AW)-225, where he served as the Schedules Officer, Airframes Officer, Assistant Maintenance Officer and Pilot Training Officer. He made two deployments to the Western Pacific in 1997 and 1999 in support of the Unit Deployment Program. While serving with the “Vikings”, he graduated from the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course at MAWTS-1, and the TOPGUN course at the Navy Fighter Weapons School.
Captain Rowell then transferred to MCAS Yuma, Arizona in 2000 for duty as an instructor pilot at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One. During this tour he served as the Air-to-Air Employment SME, GPS Guided Weapons SME, Joint Strike Fighter SME and single-seat Forward Air Controller (Airborne) project officer. In 2002, Captain Rowell was promoted to Major. In 2003, Major Rowell deployed from MAWTS-1 to Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait to augment VMFA(AW)-533 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his time in Yuma, Major Rowell was also NATOPS qualified in the F-5E/F and augmented the Snipers of VMFT-401.
In 2004, Major Rowell reported to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia where he earned a Master’s degree in Military Studies and was a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College.
In 2005, Major Rowell reported to MAG-31 at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina where he served as the MAG FA-18 tactics training officer for a year prior to reporting to VMFA-122 as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. The “Crusaders” deployed to the Western Pacific in 2006 in support of the Unit Deployment Program. Upon return, Major Rowell reported back to MAG-31 to serve as the Group Operations Officer.
After serving at MAG-31 Headquarters for a year, Lieutenant Colonel Rowell reported back to VMFA-122, the “Werewolves” in 2008 as the Executive Officer. In September 2008, he deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In January 2009, he detached from VMFA-122 and reported to 2d Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) for duties as Battle Captain in the Tactical Air Command Center. During his time in the TACC, Lieutenant Colonel Rowell continued to augment VMFA-122 and VMFA-314. He returned from Iraq in July 2009 and again assumed duties as the MAG-31 Operations Officer.
In June 2010, LtCol Rowell assumed command of VMFA(AW)-533. Under his command, the Hawks completed a training deployment to El Centro, CA and a deployment to the Western Pacific in support of the Unit Deployment Program. The Hawks were the first FA-18 squadron to obtain the highest level of combat readiness while on deployment, and were the recipients of the Robert M. Hanson Trophy as the 2011 Marine Fighter Squadron of the Year.
LtCol Rowell relinquished command of The Hawks in November, 2011 and served as MAG-31 Executive Officer until June, 2012 when he reported to U.S. Army War College. He graduated from the U.S. Army War College in June, 2013 and reported to the Pentagon for duty on the Joint Staff. He served two years in the Capabilities and Acquisition Division of the J-8 as the Strategic and Tactical Systems branch chief with responsibilities for air munitions, manned aerial systems and nuclear weapons.
Colonel Rowell has converted to the F-35B in anticipation of commanding Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22.
Col Rowell has over 3400 flight hours in the F/A-18, F-5, F-35B and MV-22 with 3000 hours in the F/A-18, and has held every tactical and flight designation qualification in that aircraft. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Air Medal Individual Action with combat distinguishing device, Air Medal Strike/Flight Award with numeral five, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars and combat distinguishing device, and the Navy Achievement Medal.