by Staff Sgt. Melissa B. White
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
2/27/2015 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Exercise Cope North 15 officially concluded here Feb. 27, 2015, after approximately two weeks of training.
The exercise this year ran Feb. 15-27 and marked the 86th iteration of
the multilateral training exercise which is a long-standing,
multinational event designed to increase interoperability, improve
combat readiness, and develop a synergistic disaster response capability
between the countries involved.
More than 2,339 military members participated this year making it the
largest Cope North exercise to date. The participants came from the
United States, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and
Philippines, as well as observers from the Singapore and Vietnam air
"We live in a complex security environment and it's very unlikely in the
future that we would deploy to any crisis or contingency by ourselves
and try to solve any problems or provide assistance on our own," said
Royal Australian Air Force Group Capt. Phil Gordon, RAAF exercise
director. "The future is all about coalitions; it's about likeminded
partners coming together to help resolve any situation. And so that's
particularly important in our region and where we are in the world that
we have a close relationship with Japan and the U.S. because they're the
partners that we're going to come together and work with if there's any
security crisis in our region."
The exercise had two main objectives overall including humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief training involving air base opening and
aeromedical evacuations, and also an air combat training portion which
included air-to-air and air-to-ground combat and a large force
Cope North started off with the four-day HA/DR scenario on the nearby
islands of Rota and Tinian and mirrored the team's real-world
capabilities of being able to maintain operations for five days in the
event of a disaster until civilian agencies would be able to support the
impacted area. During that timeframe, the air forces demonstrated these
capabilities by treating 70 patients, moving more than 216 passengers,
transporting approximately 700,000 pounds of cargo, and conducting
approximately 25 airdrops before concluding and redeploying back to
The air combat and LFE portion of the exercise occurred in the second
half of Cope North from Feb. 19-27. This objective focused on more
traditional air combat training where a large number of fighter aircraft
came together with aerial refuelers and command and control aircraft in
complex air combat scenarios while they employed offensive and
defensive counter air techniques. In total, the pilots flew more than
1,450 missions and delivered nearly 100 weapons in the nine-day period.
"During this exercise, I learned a lot of things ..." said Japan Air
Self-Defense Force Col. Toru Ota, JASDF exercise director. "We had a
great exercise with great friends from the U.S. forces and the RAAF ...
we three countries are a very strategic piece of the Asia-Pacific region
Andersen AFB started hosting Cope North annually in 1999, but the event
was previously held in Japan up until that point as often as four times
per year. The next Cope North exercise is slated for early 2016.