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  • Writer's pictureBy Pacific Island Times News Staff

Pentagon showcases air power at war games

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Guam airport tapped as support site for military exercises

U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base North Dakota, prepares to land at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a Bomber Task Force deployment, July 15, 2021. Bomber Task Force missions demonstrate the strategic credibility and tactical flexibility of U.S. forces in today’s security environment across the globe. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma

The Guam International Airport has been designated as a support location for U.S. military exercises taking place at Andersen Air Force Base (AAFB), consisting of numerous military aircraft operating over Guam and throughout the region.

AAFB announced earlier that more than 35 aircraft and approximately 800 Airmen from Pacific Air Forces and Air Combat Command were set to deploy to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility in July to participate in Operation Pacific Iron 2021.

Analysts noted that the unusually large deployment is meant to send a strong message to China.

Pacific Iron 2021 is a PACAF dynamic force employment operation to project forces into the USINDOPACOM’s area of responsibility in support of the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) which called on the military to be a more lethal, adaptive, and resilient force.

Approximately 10 F-15E Strike Eagles from the 389th Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; approximately 25 F-22 Raptors from the 525th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and the 199th Fighter Squadron, 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii; and two C-130J Hercules from the 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base, Japan will conduct combat dispersal operations in Guam and Tinian.

"Guam International Airport runways and taxiways are a vital piece of infrastructure supporting not only commercial aviation, but a critical alternate or divert location for Andersen Airfield" said John M. Quinata, executive manager. "The A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority, Guam is proud to support regional military exercises as a support location."

Airport officials said the community may anticipate increased military air activity and associated noise on or around the Guam International Airport facilities over the next two weeks.

AAFB earlier announced several joint military training exercises will take place over the next few months at Andersen AFB.

The exercises will consist of numerous military aircraft operating over Guam and throughout the region.

“Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions within the local communities, but there may be increased vehicle traffic near the base and loud aircraft may be heard over Guam,” said Brig. Gen. Jeremy T. Sloane, 36th Wing commander. “We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we work to hone our capabilities and build cohesion with our joint military partners.”

Andersen will host multiple deployed personnel and military equipment from various locations. These exercises are not in response to any specific threat, but are regularly scheduled to ensure the continued readiness of U.S. and partner forces.

“These training events will prove our readiness and are critical to developing the skills needed to respond to operational missions throughout the region to ensure a stable, free, and open Indo-Pacific,” said Sloane. “All Covid mitigation measures will be strictly enforced in accordance with current Andersen AFB and GovGuam guidance.”

Airmen deployed in support of Pacific Iron 2021 will demonstrate Multi-capable Airmen skills and conduct simulated combat flight operations from local airports in Guam and Tinian.

Fighters, mobility aircraft, Airmen and required support equipment will operate from Andersen AFB, A.B. Won Pat International Airport, and Northwest Field, Guam; and Tinian International Airport, Tinian, to conduct Agile Combat Employment operations.

ACE is the use of agile operations to generate resilient airpower in a contested environment and is designed to organize, train and equip airmen to be more agile in operation execution, strategic in deterrence, and more resilient in capabilities.

According to the 2018 NDS, dynamic force employment (DFE) allows for more flexibility in using ready forces to proactively shape the strategic environment while maintaining readiness to respond to contingencies and ensure long-term warfighting readiness.

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