Demonstration team bands agencies, branches, countries together

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Although the Pacific Air Forces’ F-16 Demonstration Team consists of just one performing F-16 Fighting Falcon and pilot, their squad of personnel extends to different careers, military branches and countries.

During their most recent air show, July 23 at Chitose Air Base, Japan, on the island of Hokkaido, the logistical team travelled to participate and sustain operations.

“It is not a one-man show,” said Maj. Richard Smeeding, the PACAF F-16 Demonstration Team pilot. “We have maintainers—ensuring jets are ready to perform, security forces—providing watch and protection to our assets, the Navy and Japan Air Self-Defense Force—providing transportation to the location and so much more.”

During this trip, personnel were transported to Chitose AB by a JASDF CH-47J assigned to the Air Reserve Wing, Flight Group Misawa Helicopter Airlift Squadron and transported back to Misawa by a UC-12F Huron assigned to Naval Air Facility Misawa.

“These flights were a double-win for us,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Morgan Reeves, a Naval Air Facility Misawa crewman, “The pilots and I are executing our monthly flight requirements and we are helping save tax payers’ dollars.”

Reeves explained this is a common flight scenario for his team and looks forward to transporting them in the future.

“We always try to accommodate when both of our trainer flights and their requests coincide with each other,” Reeves added. “We are just trying to help each other out and use all available assets verses exhausting other methods of hauling.”

In addition to transportation logistics, maintaining a proper security presence is vital when placing 35th Fighter Wing Vipers and possessions in a foreign location. Eyes must be in contact with Misawa’s aircraft 100 percent of the time during excursions like these.

“These are the U.S. Air Force's aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Garrett Pako, a 35th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations controller. “No matter what happens we are responsible for them and as security forces members it is our duty to make sure the mission is capable and ready.”

Security forces also sends an antiterrorism representative, who surveys the area, researches possible threats within the area and locates discrepancies that may hinder keeping resources safe.

As for members of the team who remain consistent and travel on a regular basis, they enjoy the company of new Airmen and witness the comradery the team offers.

“We try to ensure everyone feels welcomed on the team,” said Tech Sgt. Kyle Blythe, PACAF F-16 Demonstration Team electrical and environmental maintainer. “We see different Airmen on each trip and we form bonds with many people from different career fields.”

The PACAF F-16 Demonstration Team is slated to perform throughout the Pacific over the next several months.