Misawa runway closes, fighter jets carry on

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Routine flight line maintenance resulted in the closure of Misawa Air Base’s runway from mid-May through early July 2017.

As a result, the 35th Fighter Wing’s 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons, their aircrew and support personnel relocated to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, respectively.

The squadrons fly joint and combined missions throughout the temporary relocation to continue to maintain proficiency in their platform.

“During the runway closure we must maintain mission readiness, requiring us to operate out of alternate U.S. Air Force bases,” said Capt. Brian Herring, the 14th Fighter Squadron B flight commander. “Going on these TDYs provides us the opportunity to gain valuable training we wouldn’t normally get at Misawa. This also forges partnerships throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

Team Misawa integrated into the two locations’ daily operations in order to maintain readiness and proficiency and capitalize on unique training opportunities.

"Training with outside squadrons during the runway closure demonstrates the outstanding adaptability of the 35th Fighter Wing and its dedication to maintaining readiness for the mutual defense of the U.S. and Japan," said Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th FW commander. "The ability to move our forces and operate from locations across the theater is a key strength for Team Misawa."

Deploying to these two locations is another opportunity for PACAF units to help maintain security and stability throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Jobe added. This routine flight line maintenance was planned years in advance.