U.S., Japan and Australia team up for in-flight refueling

by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran, USS Frank Cable Public Affairs
Stripes Guam

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam – The United States and two partner nations teamed up to participate in Exercise Cope North at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, for an in-flight refueling evolution, Feb. 21.

Cope North 2017 is an annual training exercise being held Feb. 15 to March 3, designed to enhance multilateral air operations and increase combat readiness between the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force.

“This [refueling] exercise gives us an opportunity to work with our allied partners, in the event that we need to conduct joint training or humanitarian assistance,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Voorhees, boom operator assigned to 18th Operations Support Squadron.  “We go through an extensive school and it is good to share the knowledge we have with our Australian and Japanese counterparts and learn each other’s tactics.”

Local, Japanese and British media embarked a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueling aircraft, to document the in-flight fuel transfer to the B-1B Lancers, assigned to 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, and F-16 jets, assigned to the 14th Fighter Squadron from Misawa Air Base, Japan.

“I can’t say you ever feel at ease when doing these in-flight fuel transfers,” said Voorhees.  “The most critical part is coming into close proximity with the jets and trying to line up the boom correctly.”

The annual exercise serves as a keystone event to promote stability and security throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific by enabling regional forces to hone vital readiness skills critical to maintaining regional stability.

The exercise includes 22 total flying units and more than 1,700 personnel from three countries and continues the growth of strong, interoperable relationships within the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region through integration of airborne and land-based command and control assets.

For further questions, please contact USS Frank Cable Public Affairs Office (671) 343-2545 x6418 or media@AS40.navy.mil

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