Pacific Exchanges

Air Force and Japanese airmen last week flew together in a defensive exercise over Kadena AB, Okinawa. A visiting force of F-22s from the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, Va., joined with Japanese Air Self Defense Force pilots flying sorties over Okinawa from March 16 to 19. According to Lt. Col. Lansing Pilch, commander of the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, the F-22 is “the best fighter in the world at defending an island such as Okinawa.” He said, too, “Each time the F-22 trains with allies such as Japan, we make the joint and coalition fighting force more effective.” This is the second deployment to Okinawa for the Langley F-22s. In another Pacific region exercise, US and South Korean airmen exchanged views of fighter operations during a Buddy Wing exercise between USAF’s 8th Fighter Wing and the South Korean 11th Fighter Wing, both located at Kunsan Air Base on the peninsula. The 8th FW’s F-16 pilots shared tactics and flew with the 11th FW’s F-15K pilots, while maintainers from each unit exchanged techniques on the ground. Giving his opinion of his South Korean counterparts, Capt. John Harris said, “The F-15K pilots are … really, really good.” (Kadena report by Walter Ham IV; Kunsan report by SrA. Gustavo Gonzalez)