MCAS IWAKUNI, YAMAGUCHI, Japan -- U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from the Hawaiian Raptors, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, June 15, 2022 to join the 354th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) in conducting agile combat employment (ACE) training.
ACE training keeps U.S. Forces agile and ready to move through the Indo-Pacific by utilizing Multi-Capable Airmen, flexible logistics and decentralized command and control.
“This is the first time the 354th AEW has conducted a dynamic force employment with multiple airframes from multiple home stations,” said U.S. Air Force Col. David Berkland, 354th AEW commander. “We are excited to bring the Hawaiian Raptors into our AEW and refine our high-end warfighting capabilities in a forward-deployed ACE setting.”
The Air Force continues to develop its ability to meet new challenges in dynamic and dispersed operating environments; in line with this direction, Pacific Air Forces is constantly innovating new warfighting concepts.
The Hawaiian Raptors spent the last few weeks training at Kadena Air Base, Japan in coordination with the 18th Wing’s fourth generation F-15C/D Eagles. Now they are able to do the same with the 354th AEW’s fifth generation F-35A Lightning IIs.
“Moving our forces fluidly across the theater and operating with our Air Force and Marine Corps partners keeps us agile and ready for any potential tasking,” said Hawaii Air National Guard Lt. Col. Kevin Horton, 199th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander. “This movement provides realistic and relevant training that increases our Airmen’s ability to remain strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable in an ever evolving competitive and contested environment.”
While here, the Hawaiian Raptors will also train with the F-35Bs from III Marine Expeditionary Force. By operating from MCAS Iwakuni during this visit, the 354th AEW is reinforcing the U.S.-Japan alliance in accordance with mutual defense agreements.
“We are grateful for the chance to train here in Japan,” said Berkland. “We look forward to every opportunity to train alongside our regional allies and partners to maximize our interoperability and ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”