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NEWS | Jan. 27, 2022

Pacific WEASEL Strengthens Partnerships, Interoperability

By Staff Sgt. Grace Nichols 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members of Team Misawa executed a simulated defensive counter-air mission in support of a PACIFIC WEASEL (PAC WEASEL) exercise over the western coast of Japan, January 21, 2022.

Exercise PAC WEASEL is a reoccurring exercise allowing joint and bilateral partners to work together to find innovative solutions to any given task. This exercise series enhances the defense capabilities of U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) and Japanese allies, and it supports the U.S. commitment to defending a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“The primary goal of PAC WEASEL 22-2 was to effectively and safely integrate INDOPACOM assets in order to improve on our mission planning abilities in dislocated locations and properly execute our expected missions in this area of responsibility,” said Maj. Luis Monsalve, 35th Operation Support Squadron wing weapons officer. “The exercise was a huge success for all players.”

This iteration of PAC WEASEL simulated expecting large scale missions players to be tasked to execute in the INDOPACOM environment. It was specifically focused on offensive counter-air strikes against surface-to-air missiles with joint interoperability from units across the area of operation.

The exercise included 38 various aircraft; F-16 Fighting Falcons from Misawa Air Base, Japan, and Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, F-35B Lightning IIs from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, P-8 Poseidons from Misawa Air Base, and E-3 Sentries and KC-135 Stratotankers from Kadena Air Base, Japan.

“Exercise PAC WEASEL was a great opportunity for some of our young Marine F-35 pilots to train with dissimilar fighter platforms against simulated dynamic threats in a harsh winter weather environment,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Benjamin Boera, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA-242).

The units involved faced challenging scenarios sharing innovative techniques and tactics in a joint and bilateral environment to support the U.S. Air Force directive to "Accelerate Change or Lose”.

The joint effort directly enhanced USFJ’s ability to detect, deter and potentially defend Japan from adversaries, while empowering service members to be innovative and diversify their approach to any given obstacle.

“The threats in the Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility are real and they continue to grow every day,” said Boera. “We are preparing our joint forces to work together to counter growing threats through dynamic large force engagement exercises like PAC WEASEL.”

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