F-16s exercise defending Guam airspace Published July 20, 2007 By Master Sgt Arthur Webb 36 OG Public Affairs, deployed ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (PACAF) -- Airmen from the 522nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, assigned here, took part in a quick-reaction exercise last week requiring them to respond to potential threats and provide assistance to the Federal Aviation Administration if called on to do to. This exercise allowed for jets to scramble, coordinate procedures with civilian authorities and defend Guam's airspace. "The purpose of Operation Jungle Shield was to help familiarize F-16 pilots, crew chiefs and ground controller interceptors with alert scramble operations and procedures, said Capt. Wyckliffe Furcron, 522nd EFS project officer for the exercise. "The F-16 was used as the interceptor in this exercise." As U.S. forces continue to transform in order to meet emerging security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, exercises like Jungle Shield ensure unit readiness to confidently secure peace and stability in the region, Andersen officials have said. The exercise was also designed to demonstrate US Pacific Command's ability to intercept, identify, defend and, if necessary, eliminate threats within its area of responsibility. "We need to be able to quickly deploy our weapons system and defend our nation's interests," said Capt. Furcron. Two KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 173rd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron also participated in the exercise by simulating threats to Guam's airspace, causing alert F-16s crews to scramble, get airborne, and assess the threat. According to USPACOM, the surveillance and control of U.S. airspace in their area of responsibility remains a prime mission for its men and women. "This exercise helped to keep personnel in a ready mindset and also kept them current and in practice with alert scramble procedures," Capt. Furcron said. As part of continuing force posture adjustments to address worldwide requirements, additional forces are regularly deployed throughout the Western Pacific and are integrated into various joint, coalition, and bilateral training from forward operating bases in order to preserve peace and stability in the region. "In order to stay proficient in our capabilities, we have to train for each possible situation that we may encounter. Conducting exercises like Jungle Shield help us to be prepared to fly, fight and win in any combat scenario," said Capt Furcron. While not directly related to deployments of Western Pacific forces, squadron leaders emphasized Jungle Shield was an example of the flexibility that U.S. forces can demonstrate in the Asia-Pacific region, sending a clear message of readiness to any potential adversary.