An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 22, 2020

Yokota Showcases Adaptability and Mission Capability with Samurai Surge

By Staff Sgt. Juan A. Torres 374 AW PA

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron, 459th Airlift Squadron and the 21st Special Operations Squadron out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, came together to complete a 17 aircraft Samurai Surge training exercise, May 21, 2020.

The Samurai Surge exercise involved 17 aircraft for an elephant walk and a C-130 formation flight. Of those 17, two were CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 353rd Special Operations Group. This event showcased the 374th Airlift Wing’s mission capability, adaptability and readiness to respond to disaster relief scenarios and contingency operations across Yokota’s area of responsibility to maintain regional stability in the Indo-Pacific, even in the face of an ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to inclement weather the morning of the event, a previously scheduled larger formation flight was reduced and launched as a smaller C-130J formation and a low-cost, low-altitude airdrop portion of the exercise was cancelled in effort to ensure the safety of aircrew and individuals in the surrounding Tokyo metropolitan area.

“An elephant walk is a critical test for not only our aircrew, but our maintenance and airfield operations teams,” said Capt. Melinda Marlow, 36th AS C-130J pilot and scheduler. “It showcases our ability to launch multiple aircraft out of a large formation to execute an airdrop mission. To make that happen, our entire operation begins with our maintenance team that has to put in a ton of work to make sure our aircraft are ready to go out and make that mission happen.”

As a significantly larger-than-normal aircraft formation, a total of nine C-130J’s, two CV-22’s, three C-12 Hurons and three UH-1N Iroquois participated in the event.

“Seeing an elephant walk is great. Seeing our work in action, our ability to generate such a large formation and what it is capable of doing is just an amazing experience to be a part of,” added MSgt. David Arnold, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-130J production superintendent. “This is proof that we can take our entire fleet to get them ready to execute any mission that comes down, putting our air power in action.”

This year, the exercise was conducted while under the restrictions of an ongoing pandemic, a situation that forced Airmen to rethink how these formations were planned, produced, and executed while following established guidelines and policies to prevent any potential exposure.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how we go about our mission planning, but not so much when it comes to our execution of that mission,” said Marlow. “If anything, it has allowed us to practice utilizing some of the tools and resources we have but don’t get to utilize very often. While the [physical] distancing aspect is unique, that distance in planning is a very realistic hurdle we routinely face when planning our real-world missions to respond to things that arise in our area of responsibility.

“We had to plan our flights and coordinate every detail from separate locations but at the end of the day, that 17 aircraft formation we mobilized today is the same level of mobilization we would have achieved prior to COVID-19. The C-130J’s mobilized are capable of delivering two battalions of paratroopers or up to 360K lbs. of cargo anywhere in the Pacific and COVID-19 doesn’t change that.”

Like Us
Follow Us



Readout of Assistant Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner's Meeting with Australian Deputy Secretary of Defence for Strategy, Policy, and Industry Hugh Jeffrey
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
April 10, 2024 - Department of Defense Spokesman Lt. Col. Martin Meiners provided the following readout...

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' Meeting With Australian Minister of Defence Industry Pat Conroy
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
April 10, 2024 - Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout...

U.S. Army Pacific and Philippine Army Kick Off Salaknib 2024
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
April 10, 2024 - In a display of the enduring partnership between the U.S. and Philippine armies, U.S. Army Pacific Soldiers alongside the Philippine Army's 5th and 7th Infantry Divisions gathered to initiate Salaknib 2024 during an opening...

USINDOPACOM Commander Travels to Australia
Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, speaks with Michael Fullilove, Executive Director at the Lowy Institute in Sydney on April 9, 2024. The engagement was part of a trip to Australia focused on increasing cooperation and military integration as part of the strong bilateral relationship. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression and, when necessary, fighting to win. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John D. Bellino)
April 9, 2024 - SYDNEY - Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Canberra and Sydney, Australia from April 7-10, 2024, where he met with senior government and military leaders and participated in think tank...

U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy unite for maritime rescue, emphasizing community ties in FSM
The crew of USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) rescues three mariners stranded on Pikelot Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia, on April 9, 2024. Watchstanders at Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam received a distress call from a relative of the three mariners on April 6, 2024, reporting her three uncles departed Polowat Atoll, Chuuk State, Easter Sunday for Pikelot Atoll, approximately 100 nautical miles northwest and had not returned, prompting the search. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
April 9, 2024 - Three mariners are safe on April 9, 2024, thanks to the coordination of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and the U.S. Navy, after being stranded on Pikelot Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM),...