Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Oct. 24, 2019

US Air Force Exchange Officer Soars with Partners Down Under

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeanette Mullinax Media Center - Japan

When Maj. Thomas Larner commissioned in the U.S. Air Force, he knew he wanted to be a part of the fighter community. What he didn’t know was where that dream would take him.

“I remember attending my first air show in Philadelphia as a young boy, and thinking ‘man, I want to do that someday,’” Larner said. “I fell in love with fighters and pursued that dream. Now I’m serving as a weapon systems officer in Australia flying (F/A-18F) Super Hornets.”

Larner is serving with the Royal Australian Air Force No. 1 Squadron, based at RAAF Base Amberley, Australia, as part of the U.S. Air Force military personnel exchange program. The program allows service members the opportunity to integrate into military units of foreign allies through a one-for-one exchange of personnel.

“The goal of the exchange program is to build those relationships, learn each other’s capabilities, learn each other’s family values, and when it comes to the jet, learn each other’s tactics,” Larner said.

Through mutual understanding of allied forces’ procedures, program participants increase each host nations’ abilities to perform coalition operations with global partners. During a visit to Australia, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, emphasized the significance of the unique partnership of Australia and the U.S.

“We are committed to maintaining this close relationship that we've had for over a hundred years now,” Goldfein said. “It is important for us to ensure that we stand together in preserving access to the global commons and our ability to operate where and when we need to.”

While the exchange program opens international doors for Airmen to develop professionally, Larner described how a tour in Australia also impacts a service member’s personal life.

“When we found out that we were going to Australia, my wife and I, along with the kids, went out and celebrated,” Larner said. “It's a journey to take your family and uproot them, especially taking your children out of schools, and moving to a whole new country.”

Although Australia and the U.S. share a common language, Larner and his family have picked up slight differences through communicating with the locals.

“Every couple days I hear a new Australian phrase that catches me off guard,” Larner said. “I have picked up the key term of ‘no worries.’ It’s learning every day.”

As the Larner family has made the most of Australia on land, Larner has also spread his wings as a versatile asset within the fighter community.

Starting his career as an F-15E Strike Eagle weapon systems officer, his assignment to the Australian Defence Force’s “Fighting First” 1 SQN has allowed him to fly an aircraft that he would not normally be able to in the U.S. Air Force. The F/A-18F Super Hornet entered service with the U.S. Navy in 2001, and was later established as the RAAF’s main fighter aircraft in 2010 when 1 SQN was declared the first RAAF F/A-18F operational squadron.

A previous tour with the U.S. Air Force 390th Electronic Combat Squadron stationed Larner at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island where he served alongside the Navy’s Electronic Attack Squadron 132. He accredits his experience flying E/A-18G Growlers there with establishing him as an exchange officer candidate serving in Australia.

With a partnered military alliance of more than 100 years, Larner notes the common goals of Australia and the U.S. have made it easy for the two nations to grow together tactically.

“The Australian Defence Force is a very elite force, very smart, and very talented group of aviators. To work with them has been a great honor,” he said.

RT @USINDOPACOM_SEL: Today, I bid farewell to the amazing team at @INDOPACOM and Adm. Aquilino, but I leave the command in good hands with…
RT @StateDept: We are committed to building a diplomatic corps that represents America. As we mark #Pride Month, @StateDeptSpox shares some…
RT @US_TRANSCOM: @usairforce Airmen perform aerial refueling above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex during a training sortie for Red…
RT @JIATFWest: Rear Adm. Charles Fosse meets with Charge d’Affaires Tony Greubel, @USEmbassySuva to discuss continuing initiatives that enh…
"Just sitting side by side, eating together, sharing good meals together, that makes us come closer together. It makes us feel like a family."

The U.S. Navy Korea and Republic of Korea Navy shared an early Thanksgiving Day lunch to honor the everlasting-trust that strengthens the #ROKUSAlliance.
Adm. Phil Davidson at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia. #HISF2019
Join us LIVE at the Halifax International Security Forum this Saturday! Adm. Davidson will participate in the Halifax Chat at 0915 AST.
"We must work together, across academia, industry, the government, and the military, and along with our allies and partners, to harness our collective expertise and creativity in overcoming the complicated problem sets that affect us all." - Adm. Davidson #FreeandOpenIndoPacific
"USINDOPACOM’s cyber strategy emphasizes backing the region’s joint and combined force with digital capabilities and effects and incorporating them into a resilient, secure, and interoperable network architecture to support All-Domain Operations." - Adm. Davidson #FreeandOpenIndoPacific
"To all our veterans who've worn the cloth of our nation, thank you for answering the call to serve a cause greater than self and for defending the democratic ideals of our Constitution." -Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley

Make sure to turn the sound on to hear his message to our veterans.

(U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) video by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)
"It's important that the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia & other friends & allies in the region remain unified. We have a common set of values, a common set of national security interests." #GenMilley 

More on the importance of a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific
United States Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein spent his early years in the U.S. Air Force Academy "fighting the institution". So, he left the academy. Goldfein decided that during his hiatus, he would ride a 10-speed bicycle across the country for one year. That experience ended up cementing the notion that this nation is worth defending.
It’s Happening.

Tiger TRIUMPH, the first ever tri-service exercise between the U.S. and India, has begun.
“Our veterans past, and the servicemen and women of today, have helped to preserve our freedom, promote peace and prosperity, and protect our liberties in the face of dangers like these since the founding of the republic.” - Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. Phil Davidson #Veterans #FreeandOpenIndoPacific
Commander @INDOPACOM Adm. Phil Davidson, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Noel Clement @TeamAFP meet to discuss and reaffirm the importance of the U.S.-Philippines alliance. #FriendsPartnersAllies #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.
Adm. Phil Davidson, Commander U.S.Indo-Pacific Command, meets with Tarō Kōno, Japan’s Minister of Defense. 

The Admiral met with Kōno to discuss the #IroncladAlliance and to advance efforts to ensure a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.
Gen. David L. Goldfein has a short message to our adversaries: 

We're here, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Like Us
Follow Us



U.S. INDOPACOM announces establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill
220630-N-BD629-1009 CAMP H.M. Smith, Hawaii (June 30, 2022) Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino addresses members of the media during a press conference announcing the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill. JTF Red Hill, in close coordination with the State of Hawaii, will oversee the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, demonstrating DoD’s commitment to remove fuel as quickly as possible, in a safe and informed manner, and with full transparency to regulators, intergovernmental partners, and with the people of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith/Released)
July 1, 2022 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, announced the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill) on June 30.The Secretary of Defense directed the standup of JTF...

Rim of the Pacific 2022 Officially Begins
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 participants network at the Southern California opening ceremony. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Navy -- Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will train and operate in and around the...

Chief of Naval Operations, Japanese Chief of Staff Meet to Discuss Maritime Security
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday meets with Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai during an office call at the Pentagon, June 28. The two leaders discussed maritime security and ongoing efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
June 30, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted the Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai in Washington, D.C., for an office visit, June 28.The two leaders discussed...

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh -- Good afternoon, everyone! And thank you for joining us for this celebration of the 246th anniversary of U.S. independence. Independence Day in America is a day of red, white, and blue; a day of...

The U.S. Provides Immediate Assistance to Respond to Drought in Kiribati
US $500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across Kiribati
June 30, 2022 - SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- The U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across...