“We appreciate the support we’ve received from our mission partners and every organization involved, as integrated teams are searching and preparing for the recovery of the jet,” the base wrote.
The pilot ejected safely from the Marine Corps aircraft, which can take off and land vertically. The base reported on Sunday that the jet’s last-known position was north of Joint Base Charleston, near Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.
The base has since called on the public to help, asking those with information to call the facility’s operations center at (843) 963-3600.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) expressed her disbelief at the situation on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“How in the hell do you lose an F-35? How is there not a tracking device and we’re asking the public to what, find a jet and turn it in?” she wrote.
Mace added that she was briefed by Marine Corps personnel on the situation on Monday, but it was “one of the shortest meetings I’ve eve[r] had” because no one “had any answers. Shocker.”
Base spokesperson Jeremy Huggins told the Washington Post on Sunday that the F-35’s transponder was not working “for some reason that we haven’t yet determined.”
“So that’s why we put out the public request for help,” he said.