Wednesday, November 06, 2013

67th FS returns to Kadena

by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman
18th Wing Public Affairs

11/5/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A group of six F-15 Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron here returned to Kadena Oct. 28 after a three-week deployment to Singapore.

Capt. William Sullivan IV, 67th FS F-15 instructor pilot who deployed with the group, said the training with the Republic of Singapore air force is a vital component to U.S. and allied air superiority and the security of the Pacific theater.

"We do basic fighter maneuvering, so within visual range air combat maneuvering with defensive counter-air and offensive counter-air," Sullivan said. "At any point, building our partnership with anybody in Southeast Asia is going to help with our ability to enforce the theater security package. Us going down there and building a partnership with Singaporeans, flying with them, having social events with them and things like that really helps our international relationships out."

With the U.S.'s attention growing toward the Pacific throughout the past few years, Sullivan said training with allied nations including the Japan Air Self-Defense Force is becoming even more important than in recent years.

As a result of the increased international training, the U.S. has built a stronger relationship that is better capable of defending the reigon.

"If anything happens in Southeast Asia, we've got partners to call upon and partners to work with," Sullivan said.

However, without the help of the 909th Air Refueling Squadron's KC-135 Stratotanker fleet, the Air Force would be hard pressed to continue the training in distant regions.

"(The training allowed us to) bolster international relations with Pacific allies while also increasing tactical prowess," said Staff Sgt. Donald Johnson, 909th ARS evaluator boom operator. "On the way there, we offloaded 80,400 pounds of JP-8 (jet fuel), so that definitely increased how much water they could cover. We're also able to provide emergency procedures to help with emergency boom latches."

Though other nations utilize the KC-135 for aerial refueling missions, Sullivan said nobody compares to the capabilities of the U.S.'s highly trained Airmen.

"We can't do our mission without (the 909th ARS), we're not moving six jets down to Singapore without these guys, and we're not getting six jets back," said Sullivan. "The proficiency they have is far better than any other country I've worked with (who has) KC-135s, and if they don't have that proficiency, we could be in a world of hurt in the middle of the ocean with nowhere to go.

"Our mission support is great to allow us to do our job," he continued. "Our team effort as an Air Force is really what's taken us above and beyond to continue with our air superiority."

No comments: