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Deployed F-22 Raptors arrive at Andersen

January 18, 2009 (by SrA Ryan Whitney) - Twelve F-22 Raptors deployed from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, arrived at Andersen Air Force Base Jan. 18, for a three month deployment in support of Pacific Global Deterrence mission.

F-22s deployed from Elmendorf AFB prepare to land at Andersen AFB on January 18th, 2009. Andersen received 12 of the $140 million dollar aircraft and more than 250 Airmen have already arrived at the base to begin a three month deployment as the Pacific's Theater Security Package. The stealth-fighters, along with associated maintenance and support personnel, are deployed as the 90th EFS. [USAF photo by MSgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald]

As part of the continuing force posture adjustments to address worldwide requirements, the United States continues to deploy additional forces like the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron throughout the Western Pacific. More than 270 Airmen deployed with the unit.

"The F-22s from the PACAF base at Elmendorf, Alaska bring a phenomenal and exceptionally versatile capability to Pacific Command," said Brig. Gen. Philip Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander. "This strategic deployment to Andersen shrinks the tyranny of distance across the Pacific by forward basing an unmatched multi-role fifth generation combat capability."

While deployed here, the Dicemen of the 90th EFS will fly alongside the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, in support of numerous exercises and missions, showcasing the U.S. commitment to security and stability throughout the Pacific.

"Having the F-22A here deters and dissuades potential adversaries and assures our regional partners and allies within the region," said General Ruhlman. "The F-22A Raptor represents a key element of the USAF's contribution to joint military operations with unquestionable world class air dominance upon which all joint forces rely."

Being deployed to Andersen provides the 90th EFS with many unique opportunities.

"Many of our younger pilots don't get the opportunity to drop many live weapons during training in Alaska, and with the ranges and opportunities they have here at Andersen, many of them will get the valuable experience required to truly be air dominant," said Lt. Col. Orlando Sanchez, 90th EFS commander. "We will also get the chance to participate in many of the joint exercises, and get that experience to see how other services operate."

F-22s are the Air Forces newest and most advanced fighter, combining stealth, maneuverability, supercruise capability, and superior avionics to provide the U.S. with unmatched air dominance.

"These aircraft take the air superiority of the F-15 to the next level, ensuring that the U.S. maintains air dominance," said Maj. Chad Newkirk, an Air Force Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 90th EFS.

One of the biggest challenges the aircraft face while deployed here is the climate according to the squadron commander.

"These jets are still young, and it will be interesting to see how they react to the dramatic climate differences between Alaska and Guam." said Colonel Sanchez. "Our maintainers are the best, and they know what it takes to keep these birds in the air."

In addition to the Andersen deployment, Kadena Air Base, Japan, also received 12 F-22s deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va., as part of the continuing force posture adjustments to address worldwide requirements.

Courtesy of 36th Wing Public Affairs

Additional images:

Maintenance personnel prepare for the arrival of F-22s deployed from Elmendorf AFB at Andersen AFB on January 18th, 2009. [USAF photo by MSgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald]