True air power: Squadrons prepare for Exercise Vigilant Ace

by Senior Airman Lynette Rolen
18th Wing Public Affairs

Gentle orange and red rays of the early morning cast long, slow shrinking shadows across the flightline.

The slight dew from the night before quickly burns away, leaving the air thick and damp. Figures dressed in long, blue jumpsuits move from one aircraft to the next as they prepare for the mission ahead.

The 44th Fighter Squadron and 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit sent more than 10 F-15 Eagles to support Exercise Vigilant Ace in Guam April 19.

“Exercise Vigilant Ace is a lateral large-force exercise we support,” said Tech. Sgt. Jon Paul Aubert, 44th AMU aircraft section chief. “It shows we’re able to deploy jets to assist our allies with anything they need.”

The exercise is designed to maintain readiness and capabilities for responding to any contingency.

“We participate in exercises quite often,” said Aubert. “With us and the 67th FS, the 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron usually does more than five exercises per year. Our participation in Vigilant Ace says a lot as to how quickly we can get out there and how many jets we can generate.”

The generation of Kadena’s jets for these exercises is made possible by the teamwork of 44th AMU crew chiefs and 44th FS pilots.

Airman 1st Class Locke Williams, 44th AMU crew chief, said one of the things he enjoys about these missions, and his job, is working with the pilots.

“We’ve spent a lot of hours preparing for this exercise,” said Williams. “It’s definitely a lot of work for us to handle, but we can pull it off. It’s rewarding to see the fruits of our labor and see the jets flying in the air, going to their destination.” 

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