Misawa F-16 pilots integrate with bombers, Koku Jieitai counterparts

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Bulow-Gonterman
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Six U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons integrated with two B-52H Stratofortress bombers and 13 Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force or JASDF) F-2s to conduct bilateral and theater familiarization training at Draughon Range near the coast of Misawa, Japan, Feb 3.

The 14th Fighter Squadron teamed up with pilots based out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Minot AFB, North Dakota and Hyakuri Air Base, Japan, three days prior to mission execution to conduct a mission-planning orientation that ensured all the aircraft arrived in the airspace at the same time.

“This exercise was unique because this was the first time we’ve combined F-2s and B-52s in a training scenario utilizing Draughon Range,” said Lt. Col. David Madson, the 35th Operations Support Squadron commander. “We continue to increase the capabilities and capacity of Draughon Range and the connecting airspace. In doing such we’re able to provide unmatched training opportunities in the Northern Pacific.”

With three different airframes in attendance from across the Indo-Pacific and continental United States, all are puzzle pieces that, when teamed up, are ready for combat.

“Being able to mission plan and execute a large force engagement exercise from geographically separated bases throughout the world shows the interoperability of Japan and the U.S. and their ability to provide combat air power in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Maj. Joseph Valdez, 35th OSS wing weapons officer.

During the training scenario the B-52s and F-2s simulated strikes over 80 assigned targets, and then accomplished follow-on dynamic targeting while the F-16s provided escort for the strikers against simulated adversary aircraft, and suppression of enemy air defenses against the integrated air defenses located on Draughon Range.

Each asset played a vital role over the course of the mission demonstrating the U.S. commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of military forces.

“This mission was significant in that it brought together U.S. Air Force and JASDF assets and is a representation of our ability to synchronize effects from all over the world to provide lethal airpower to combatant commanders whenever requested,” said Madson.