The squadron Scott leads was first activated in 1941, and was also the first to fly the Boeing F/A-18D fighter in 1989.
Yuma will carry out the operational evaluation of the F-35B plane, which is needed before it can be cleared for operational use, something that Marines hope to achieve in 2015.
First local area flights are likely to begin just before Christmas, or early in January, after some additional conditions have been met, Colonel Kevin Killea, who oversees aviation requirements for the Marine Corps, told Reuters.
Killea said the military and Lockheed were continuing to work through technical challenges on the new fighter, including a sophisticated new helmet and software development, but said the start up of the squadron was a step forward and should also reassure international partners on the program.
“We’re not trying to kid anybody about these guys being operational in six months and deploying. That’s a long way off. But the airplane is maturing, it’s moving along ... and we’re happy to have it in the hands of operators,” he said.
Killea said some modifications would be made to the F-35 planes that had been ferried to the base, including changes to strengthen the air inlet door used for vertical landings, but the changes should be completed over the next few months.
Lockheed said in a statement that the three F-35Bs delivered to Yuma brought the total number of all F-35 planes delivered in 2012 to 20.