F-22s Arrive at Kadena

Ten of the 12 Raptors deploying to Kadena AB, Japan, from Langley AFB, Va., have touched down on Okinawan soil, with the remaining two due any day, according to service officials. Six of the Raptors arrived at Kadena on Jan. 10 and four more came in on Jan. 12, after stopovers at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. These F-22s, all from Langley’s 27th Fighter Squadron, will spend three months in the Western Pacific as part of a normal Air and Space Expeditionary Force rotation. During this time, they will train with other US forces in the region as well as elements of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Overall, the Langley contingent that traveled to Kadena includes about 300 airmen, including 59 from the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Fighter Wing. Airmen of the latter unit work hand-in-hand with their active duty counterparts in operating and maintaining the F-22s assigned to the 1st FW. “We’re extremely excited to be here supporting the US-Japan security alliance, and we look forward to strengthening that relationship during this deployment,” said Lt. Col. David Nardi, one of the deployed F-22 pilots from the Virginia Air Guard. As the Langley F-22s reached Kadena, members of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, continued preparations for the three-month AEF deployment of 12 F-22s from the wing’s 90th FS to Andersen AFB, Guam. Elmendorf airmen began departing for Guam on Jan. 9. (Kadena report by Maj. John S. Hutcheson and Elmendorf photo caption by SrA. Matthew Owens)