September 29, 2007 (by TSgt. Steven Wilson) - The 522nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Andersen AB took advantage of having other airframes present on the island to practice some unique joint training scenarios.
Two 522nd FS F-16C block 50s go 'wheels-up' as they leave Andersen AB to practice aerial intercept training. [USAF photo by SMSgt. Mahmoud Rasouliyan]
The F-16 crews assigned to the 522nd EFS practiced rapid response situations, which allowed other functional experts to fuse their unique skills together to ensure mission accomplishment.
"This exercise was designed to prepare the 522nd EFS and Andersen permanent party for an aerial oriented defense scenario," said Capt. Jason Monaco, 522nd EFS. "The end goals were to train fighter pilots in alert, scramble and intercept tactics, to test the Andersen senior staff decision making process and to exercise command related issues."
The training was intense and very fast paced, according to F-16 pilot Capt. Vince O'Connor, 522nd EFS.
"When receiving the order to scramble, aircrew went from waiting in the alert facility to airborne within minutes," said Captain O'Connor. "Once airborne, we were directed by air traffic control to intercept the threat. We conducted an intercept at supersonic speed to get to the engagement as soon as possible."
The "hostiles" in this training exercise were actually deployed KC-135 tankers simulating enemy aircraft. Captain Monaco says it was well worth it.
"The highlight of this exercise, from a fighter pilot perspective, was training to an alert take off in very little time and completing an intercept at supersonic speeds," he said. "The ability to complete rapid and safe intercepts of hostile aircraft allows senior leaders to make timely decisions regarding our strategies to best deal with the bad guys."
Col. Damian McCarthy, 36th Operations Group commander echoed Captain Monaco's sentiments and said tip of the spear forces can't forget the basics of air dominance which is air superiority.
"Although the Cold War is long over, and our mission has changed, we must continually adapt to new threats" he said. "This type of intercept training lets us remain proficient and vigilant in defending our critical resources and personnel."
The joint training exercises conducted here are aimed toward protecting America's interests, reassuring our friends and allies that we are committed to the region, and promoting stability throughout the Western Pacific Region.