August 3, 2006 (by SMSgt Deborah VanNierop) - As Pacific Air Forces prepares to bring the F-22 to the command next year, the Headquarters PACAF F-22 Program Integration Office is working to ensure no detail is overlooked.
Five Air Force F-22 Raptors taxi after arrival at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, on Tuesday May 23, 2006. Raptors from the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, Va., are supporting Exercise Northern Edge 2006. The Air Force has selected Elmendorf as the home for the next operational F-22 squadron. The base will receive 36 Raptors, with the first jet expected in fall 2007. [USAF photo by Staff Sgt. Dave Donovan]
The job is not a small task. The integration office staff is responsible for guiding, coordinating and synchronizing the PACAF-wide F-22 beddown efforts. They are doing this with Air Staff, Air Force Reserve Command, the National Guard Bureau, Air Combat Command, Air Force Material Command, the manufacturer and PACAF
leaders. The staff of four officers doesn't underestimate the magnitude of their task.
"We serve as the central office of primary responsibility for all F-22 issues in PACAF," said Lt. Col. Robert J. Craven, chief of the F-22 Program Integration Office.
Before the creation of the F-22 PIO, numerous PACAF teams were addressing their respective roles in the F-22 beddown effort; however, PACAF commander Gen. Paul V. Hester felt a "consolidation of effort" was necessary.
"Bringing the F-22 to PACAF in Alaska and Hawaii is a huge undertaking. It's vital that our efforts are not wasted in redundancy and that we ensure we don't miss anything while planning to beddown these incredible new aircraft," the general said.
The integration office was chartered in April. The team was formed and opened its office for business the next day.
The composition of the staff is a reflection of the same total force integration that will exist in PACAF's F-22 squadrons. Two of the officers are active duty, one is a reservist and the other a guardsman. Three of the officers are F-15 Eagle pilots and one is an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot.
"This reflects the pool from which most F-22 pilots are drawn. The vast range of active duty, Reserve and Guard fighter experience and operational expertise these pilots bring to this (total force integration) team is truly greater than the sum of its parts. They are ideally equipped to tackle the tough challenges associated with getting PACAF's F-22s in place," Colonel Craven said.
However, the integration office staff is quick to point out that they could not function without the direct support of more than 30 subject matter experts from every functional area in the command.
"These experts work the difficult details within their respective functional areas while we guide, coordinate and synchronize their numerous individual efforts," Colonel Craven said. "Together, the F-22 (Program Integration Office) and our army of experts form a cross-functional 'dream team,' and we're determined to make the beddown of the F-22 in PACAF a tremendous success."