JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Despite the challenges of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 3rd Wing set a new flying record in June, accomplishing 810 sorties. It is by far the highest number to date since the arrival of the F-22 Raptors here at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
The Combat Alert Cell has been flying F-22s since 2007 and is the only F-22 active duty alert cell in operation. The maintainers and pilots at the CAC are responsible for launching F-22s to intercept unidentified or unauthorized aircraft flying near or within U.S. airspace.
“Our abilities were put to the test in June,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Aaron Herbert, a noncommissioned officer in charge of the CAC. “We continue to show why we are the number-one Air Force in the world by not only meeting every mission successfully but crushing records while doing it.
“Maintaining Alaskan and North American airspace’s security is our mission here and we do that mission well.”
Conducting that many sorties can be a daunting task even when we’re not in the middle of a global pandemic, but the Airmen from the 90th and 525th aircraft maintenance units and pilots were up to the challenge. The average monthly sortie for the Raptors is 523.
“This record goes beyond breaking a JBER or PACAF [Pacific Air Forces] record,” Herbert said. “Being that we are the only F-22 alert cell, we broke a personal best; we are also showing our adversaries that no matter how much they push, we are always ready.”
The impact that this record has on the JBER mission is huge, Herbert added.
“One of mission at JBER stems from the Combat Alert Cell and shows the power and capabilities to operate at a higher pace,” Herbert said. “Breaking sortie records speak volumes about the Airmen entrusted to manage, maintain, and fly for the CAC.”
Additionally, the 90th AMU achieved a record four-day surge with 168 sorties scheduled in June.
“This is the first time in my career, I have seen and aided with the generation of so much combat airpower in such a small time frame,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Andrew Bell, 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “It is a phenomenal feeling being a part of such fantastic milestone. There is nothing that the professional warfighters on JBER can’t handle.”
As other missions are fulfilled, the fighter community will continue reaching for the next milestone.