After a Marine Corps pilot ejected on Sunday from an F-35B Lightning II over northern Charleston, South Carolina, the branch is asking for help from the public to determine where the aircraft may have gone.
The unnamed pilot is in stable condition, according to Maj. Melanie Salinas. However, the status of the F-35 remains unknown, even after a search of two local lakes in the area.
The F-35 is known as a stealth fighter, and in this case, it has proven that there is such thing as being too surreptitious. Alas, perhaps the covert aircraft is at one of these local Charleston haunts ... or worse.
1. Sullivan’s Island
The dog days of summer are coming to an end. Perhaps the F-35 just wanted to take Sheryl Crow’s advice and soak up the sun — with a mango margarita on the wing — at a beautiful South Carolina beach.
2. Fort Sumter
The F-35 wanted to take in some military history and decided to visit the legendary installation, which was in use during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
3. Stuck in traffic on Route 17
There’s only one real way in and out of Charleston — a strip of highway known as Route 17. It’s a two-lane road, and when there’s traffic, it really backs up. Fingers crossed, the F-35 doesn’t run out of fuel. The gas stations here are few and far between.
4. In the belly of a beast
South Carolina has a fairly prolific alligator population. Who’s to say that a monstrous reptile didn’t open its jaws to intercept the jet?
5. On a biscuit bar crawl
The flaky, buttery biscuits of Charleston are the pillowy stuff dreams are made of. Perhaps after experiencing all those sky clouds, the F-35 wanted to enjoy some earthly variants, smothered in thick southern gravy.
6. Under the sea
According to “The Little Mermaid” crab Sebastian, “The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake.” Maybe the F-35 was tired of being in the air and just wanted to be part of that world. Darling, it’s better down where it’s wetter, under the sea.
7. In Plain Sight
It’s not that the F-35 is hiding, it just can’t be seen. It wants to be found, but simply can’t. It’s just too stealthy.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.