Two memes about the missing f 35 stealth Fighter Jet from September 2023.

Missing F-35 Fighter Jet

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Updated Sep 19, 2023 at 11:35AM EDT by Zach.

Added Sep 18, 2023 at 05:34PM EDT by Brandon.

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Related Explainer: Why Are People Making Memes About A Fighter Jet? The Missing F-35 Stealth Plane Explained

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Missing F-35 Fighter Jet refers to the disappearance of an $80 million dollar stealth fighter jet (a Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II) that was reported missing somewhere in South Carolina on September 18th, 2023. Due to the United States military stopping all flights in the area and asking residents to help look for the missing fighter jet, the military and the Biden administration have been made the subject of memes and jokes online for their perceived incompetence in losing the expensive plane. The debris from the crashed missing jet was found later that day.


On September 18th, 2023, news came out that the United States military had lost track of an F-35 fighter jet the day prior after the pilot had ejected from it. The jet is believed to have simply kept flying on autopilot until it landed somewhere without witnesses, with citizens being encouraged to help locate it in the woods.[5] On September 18th, 2023, the X account @flightradar24[1] uploaded a picture of the flight path it took while repeating the words of the military, earning over 1.8 million views in five hours (shown below).

flightradar24 The US military is searching for a missing F-35B in South Carolina after the pilot ejected yesterday and the jet kept flying. If you have seen an F- 35 in the woods, please contact the US Marines. Lucknow nola Privateer 34 Lakewood St Paul Manville Ashwood 1328 Sumter 15 South Sumter Paxville by Hill 13 Summerton ke Marion 401 Eutawville Bishopville Flightradar24 @flightradar24 (26) (340 154 413 Ⓡ 401 St Charles Elliott Mayesville Alcolu 95 Manning Lydia Cypress Crossroads 20 Oates Atkins Cross Lamar Lynchburg Gable 301 (10 Wilson 401 Cartersville Shiloh New Zion 76 Turbeville Timmonsville Whitehall Pineville Union Crossroads Sardis Workman Peniel Crossroads Olanta 301 Greeleyville 20 targ Bonneau St Stephen Salte ane CASA 301 141 Quinby Florence Woodland Park (541) Alvin 301 Effingham Coward Scranton 378 Lake City Cades cPOA426 FOXXB40 Trio 527 327 flightradar24 Winona Pe Paraplico OA0362 Hanna em 30 Anthoch Oak dge spec asro VIE Heves Nesmith Johnsonville Gresham Poston Ⓒ CAP3935 FALL (91) Fork Centary 41 Grav COM Brittons Neck Hewell (S13) Georg 123 Mullins Galivants Ferry Nichols Ketchuptown Red Hill Aynor Cool Spring 319 00 (131) Plantersville 201 Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge 23 N Litchfield Homewood Adrian Allen Conway 501 Cherry Grove 000 Green Sea Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge Litchfield by the Sea Pawleys Island: (707) Ⓒ 201 Socastee Murrells Inlet (22 Surfside Beach Tabor City 201 Glenn Carolina Forest Pine Island Clarendon williams Loris ... (6) Myrtle Beach Bru Antion Col Longs Arcadian Shores Wampee No

A debris field identified as the remains of the missing jet was located later on September 18th, 2023, receiving considerable media coverage over the following 24 hours.[4]

Online Reactions

Immediately after news of the fighter jet going missing spread online, people began to point fingers at the Biden administration, perceiving the loss of the $80 million dollar jet as another in a list of controversial things that have been happening in the military under President Joe Biden. For example, on September 18th, 2023, X user @Ericmmatheny[2] uploaded a picture of a U.S. soldier wearing furry domination gear in an official-looking military photo, captioning the image by feigning shock at the military losing an F-35 fighter jet with a furry "in charge" and receiving over 17,300 likes and 4,000 retweets in roughly 24 hours (shown below).

Eric Matheny @ericmmatheny Our military lost an F-35? I'm shocked. U.S Subscribe

Other various memes that did not take aim at the military or the administration were also prevalent online, with a larger joke being shared of the fighter jet being sold on eBay, due to the recency of the SAG/AFTA eBay Charity Auctions being a meme around the same time.

For example, on September 18th, X user @Locke314159265[3] uploaded a picture from an old Pepsi advertisement stating that if you obtained over 7,000,000 Pepsi points you could redeem them for a Harrier Fighter, claiming that the person just finally collected on it (shown below). The post received over 570 likes and 63,000 views in roughly 24 hours.

Locke @Locke314159265 Pepsi dude finally came for what was rightfully his. HARRIER FIGHTER 7.000.000 PEPSI POINTS #F35 #F35Missing #MissingF35

Various Examples

MISSING F-35B Lightning II Last seen: Charleston, SC 9/17/23 L - 20 191 17 FR SH 14 #72 m Z M in 7- C S DUDE Where's my F-35 D no m 14 TH 01 #T E ebay F-35 stealth fighter jet subdobhub (1724) 100% positive feedback $80,000,000+ $5.50 shipping Est. delivery Wed, Sep 20 - Fri, Sep 22 Condition Used Ⓒ Buy It Now D: @GRANDOLDMEMES >


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Top Comments

SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird

"How do you lose an F-35?"
I mean, not being able to find it is kind of the point. Lockheed engineers are probably smiling right now.

Also, gather 'round KYM kids, it's story time with grandpa Blackbird.

Did you know this isn't the first time the U.S. had a fighter jet continue on its merry way after the pilot ejected? Happened in Montana in 1970:

An F-106 pilot got into a flat spin, which for a tailless aircraft is definitely in the "not very good" department. When he ejected, due to Newton's 3rd law, the force of the rocket pushing him away from the cockpit also forced the nose of the plane downwards, which allowed it to orient itself correctly forward and climb out of the dive due into a level position. As the parachuting pilot watched, dumbstruck, he was told by another F-106 pilot to "get his ass back in it!". The fighter jet leveled out just in time to touch down onto a snowy farm field and skid to a stop. The pilot was rescued by locals, and the sheriff had to cordon off the field as the F-106 continued skidding around the field due to its still active engine until its fuel ran out 45 minutes later.


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