On February 10, 2011 the John H. Glenn squadron of the Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) recognized Lt. Col. Matthew “Squirt” Kelly '89 as its test pilot of the year. Kelly is a member of the of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 and the F-35 integrated test team. More than 150 attendees recognized Kelly at the MCAA squadron’s sixth annual meeting, including former Senator John Glenn, the squadron's namesake.
According to the Marine Corps press release, Kelly was selected for his significant contribution to the F-35 developmental program. He was the first pilot to fly the F-35B supersonic, the first military pilot to fly the F-35C, and is the team lead for military F-35 test pilots at Patuxent River. Kelly was also featured in a recent Discovery Channel Canada segment on the F-35.
"(This is) an outstanding achievement for Lt. Col. Kelly and a testimony to his leadership during a critical time for the F-35 program,” said Brig. Gen. Gary L. Thomas, Assistant Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation. “The example he provides for all acquisition professionals will inspire the hard work and dedication that will deliver this much needed capability to our warfighters.”
“It’s an honor to have been nominated and selected,” said Kelly. “The real credit goes to the outstanding flight test team of the Integrated Test Force at VX-23. I’m proud that future generations of Marine aviators will benefit from the work our team is doing here.”
Delbarton proudly salutes Lt. Col. Matt Kelly '89 for his outstanding military aviation achievement.