ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Since Dynamic Force Employment’s (DFE) creation, DFE directs joint forces to one common theme- U.S. military forces operating strategically predictable but operationally unpredictably.
“A rotational schedule that allows me to tell you three years from now which aircraft carrier will be where in the world is ill suited to a world bristling with great-power challenges,” said former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, during a 2018 Congressional hearing.
Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) hosted a DFE this last month called WestPac, starting early November, with F-22 Raptors assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron (FS), 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The F-22s will depart Andersen AFB at the beginning of December.
“The 94th FS deployed roughly 300 personnel from Langley AFB to Andersen AFB, and operated for a period of five weeks,” said a flight commander from the 94th FS, who asked to remain anonymous for operational security. “Within that five week period, our pilots completed numerous missions throughout the area of responsibility, and have forward deployed across Asia to protect U.S. Territories and deter foreign aggression.”
During this time frame, the 94th FS was joined by the 36th Airlift Squadron, from the 374 Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan, and Andersen AFB’s own 36th Contingency Response Group (CRG).
The 36th AS assisted in a hot-refuel operation by providing C-130J Hercules carrying an Aerial Bulk Fuel Delivery System. These assets provided essential fuel for the Raptors and demonstrated a strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable way to deliver fuel anywhere in the Indo-Pacific.
“INDOPACOM is home to our greatest strategic competitors, near-peer capabilities that can influence events in the entire region,” the 94th FS flight commander mentioned. “The 94th FS is demonstrating the ability to navigate the open waters of the Indo-Pacific. By bringing the world’s top air dominance fighter into theater, we counter that power and check the influence they can assert.”
U.S. Marines with the Military Police Company, 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group conducted security operations on board Andersen Air Force Base in support of the 36th Security Forces Squadron and Dynamic Force Employment 21. Daily tasks include garrison law enforcement operations, sensitive site security, and perimeter security patrols. The ability for U.S. Marines and Airmen to integrate at the tactical level contributed to the readiness of a combined U.S. force in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Our presence has enhanced the 36th SFS’s ability to accomplish their mission and provides increased security for strategic assets that are currently forward-deployed to Andersen Air Force Base,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Thomas A. Fiammetta, Company Commander, Military Police Company.
The 36th CRG completed hot refuel site certifications, airfield surveys, and host nation fuel site assessments for the Island of Palau before the 94th FS and 36th AS traveled to the country for a flyover.
The 36th CRG also was a direct liaison to the government of Palau for any missions that took place in the area, and was the subject matter focal point in between military forces and the civilian population, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Kent Germaine, an assistant director of operations assigned to the 36th Contingency Response Group.
“That was the first mission that I was directly a part of, that helped make it happen in Palau,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Smith, the operations superintendent assigned to the 36th Contingency Response Support Squadron. “We directly helped make that happen in Palau. Multiple squadrons within the 36th CRG were there to conduct a survey.”
Smith explained that the site surveys conducted by the 36th CRG gives both short and long term options for operations under the umbrella of DFE and other contingency operations. He said that doing so gives an active runway for future use for aircraft in future missions.
“The Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR) is the most likely location for the near peer fight that the F-22 trains to fight,” said the 94th FS flight commander. “By deploying the 94th FS to the AOR, it shows our adversaries that the 5th generation mission focus is on this future conflict. Furthermore, at a unit level by deploying the 94th FS to the Pacific it affords all of the squadron pilots to gain experience flying in this region of the world.”