By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Approximately 1,700 U.S. airmen, marines and sailors are training alongside 700 service members from Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Royal Australian Air Force, French Air and Space Force, Royal Canadian Air Force and Republic of Korea Air Force in Cope North 2024.
Cope North, the largest multilateral exercise that kicked off on Feb. 5 and will run until Feb. 23, consists of 85 aircraft from the United States, Australia, Japan, France and South Korea.
"Cope North aims to prepare airmen for mass deployments involving multiple countries and practice NATO’s agile combat employment doctrine," according to an article published by Stars and Stripes.
“It’s great to finally receive our crews so we’re ready to go out and take part in the mission as well as get our maintenance personnel ready to support where they’re needed,” said Capt. Zachary Holmes, 23rd EBS weapons officer. “We’re ready to go.”
While forward deployed to Guam, B-52 operations and support personnel are designated to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.
The 23rd EBS will integrate alongside Allies and partners to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to security and stability throughout the region.
Designed to showcase the U.S.’s ability to deter, deny and dominate, BTF missions aim to influence and dissuade aggression from adversaries or competitors.
Cope North kicked off with an Elephant Walk, a coalition of 33 aircraft, operating together to present a united front with allies and partners to enhance integrated deterrence.
“Being able to direct and oversee this amazing showing of interoperability from Andersen AFB has filled me with awe,” said SrA Robert Rennie, Air Traffic Controller. “The sheer amount of aircraft and the way our Allies and partners operate together with us is inspiring.”
According to the 36th Wing Public Affairs, Elephant Walks are traced back to World War II, when aircraft were assembled in a single file line.
"Events like this demonstrate the airpower presence, strength and preparedness that exist across the Indo-Pacific region," according to a press release from AAFB.
CN24 is a multinational, U.S. Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, field training exercise focused on airborne integration for large-force employment and agile combat employment.
Exercise activities will take place at AAFB, Guam Internationa Airport, Tinian and Saipan.