March 24, 2010 (by SSgt. Derrick Spencer) - It's been more than a year since the initial arrival of the F-22 Raptors from Elmendorf Air Force Base. Airman from the 90th EFS have deployed to Andersen AFB three times in 18 months as part of U.S Pacific Command's Theatre Security Package.
USAF Raptor pilots deployed from Elmendorf AFB welcome 90th EFS, F-22A block 30 no. 07-4150 to Andersen AFB on January 17th, 2010. Andersen received 12 of the $140 million advanced aircraft along with more than 200 Airmen to begin a three month deployment as part of the Theater Security Package. [USAF photo by A1C. Jeffrey Schultze]
The rotation of the F-22's from Alaska are not deployed in response to any specific situation in the Western Pacific, it's mainly to show the capabilities of the Air Force's newest fighter being able to move from its normal operational location with a global reach mindset.
"Supporting PACOM priorities by forward deploying Elmendorf arctic warriors to Anderson illustrates both the F-22's flexibility and the USAF's commitment to the Joint Fight," said Lt. Col. Orlando Sanchez, 90th EFS commander. "The
"Dice-men" are proud to be able to join our sister services and partners in the security of the region."
Years ago Andersen Air Force Base was known as a relative quite base with a smaller mission, but with the constant rotation of the bomber presence and now the Raptor, the most strategically placed base in the Pacific now has the most sophisticated fighter aircraft in the world.
"Deploying the F-22 to Anderson demonstrates our Nations commitment to stability in the region and our commitment to our strategic partners," said Lt. Col. Orlando Sanchez, 90th EFS commander.
Shrinking the tyranny of distance, The "Dice-men" of the 90th EFS fly the F-22 on missions over the Asia-Pacific with the thought in mind that the aircraft can be anywhere in the Pacific in a matter of hours. Joint exercises, and live bomb training gives the 90th pilots valuable training to ensure they stay vigilant and they keep the Raptor air dominate.
"The training opportunities available at Andersen are incredible, and the beautiful weather allows us to maximize our fuel to accomplish our training objectives in the local airspace," said Maj. Andrew Shurtleff, 90th EFS deployment project officer. "Having a variety of aircraft units deployed to Andersen allows us to train to missions at a level not always possible in Alaska. "
Moving Alaskan fighters to a tropical location does pose challenges, but the move proves how important the readiness and the reposition of forces are to the security of the United States.
"Compared to Alaska in the winter, the consistent weather patterns here in Guam make flight line operations much simpler which equates to more sorties and better training." Colonel Sanchez said. "We relish the opportunities this deployment brings for our folks."