Kadena pilots turn and burn on Andersen
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- More than 300 Airmen and 18 F-15C Eagles from the 67th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for an exercise that will develop bolster the squadron's expeditionary skills.
The Aviation Training Relocation Program increases the operational readiness of 300 maintainers, 40 pilots, and 25 support personnel assigned to the 67th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron team, while managing the noise impacts of training in and around the local communities of Okinawa, Japan.
"It's great for us because it integrates Andersen's war-fighting capabilities and allows us to bring [the Kadena Air Base pilots] here for operational integration they normally don't get to have back in Japan," said Lt. Col. Harry Dyson, 36th Operations Support Squadron commander.
In January 2011, Andersen was selected as the host base for the Aviation Training Relocation program by a joint Japan-U.S. committee because of the close proximity and limited flying regulations. They decided to study further options for training relocation, including the expansion of both bilateral and unilateral training, inside and outside Japan.
"The span of U.S. Air Force flying missions requires focused skill sets training that easily atrophies if not maintained," said Lt. Col. Morris Fontenot, 67th FS commander and overall commander of the Team Kadena detachment at Andersen. "The benefit of coming to Guam is the operators can practice realistic time sensitive targeting scenarios around Guam's waters."
Operating out of Guam allows the 67th FS pilots opportunities to exercise all of the F-15's capabilities without the regular airspace restrictions the unit complies with in Japan.
Fontenot said the ATR is a mutually benficial solution with our Japanese partners that keeps the pilots ready to fight without losing any flight time, supports the joint agreement, and reduces the aircraft noise in Okinawa during Obon, a Buddhist holiday celebrated in Japan.
Along with the F-15s, the Team Kadena detachment also includes 70 Airmen from Kadena based E-3 Sentry and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. Andersen aircraft also participating include KC-135s, B-52s, and U.S. Navy SH-60s for the two-week training exercise.
"A major part of our operations here will feature us providing offensive counter-air support to the B-52, utilizing time-sensitive targeting inputs from the E-3s, all augmented with air refueling capabilities from the KC-135s to perform these missions," Fontenot said.
He said using a full mix of F-15, B-52, E-3, KC-135, and SH-60 aircraft in fully integrated operations scenarios at Andersen is a great experience for all of the Airmen involved and gives them a unique perspective and focus they cannot always achieve at Kadena.
"We don't get many opportunities to fly with long range strategic bombers such as B-52s, and though the E-3 aircraft are stationed at Kadena, they are frequently tasked with higher headquarters missions so we have limited options to integrate with them," he said. "This is fantastic training for Team Kadena and Team Andersen."