18 Cannon F-16s arrive Weds
By Master Sgt. Art Webb, 36th Operations Group
/ Published May 31, 2007
Andersen Air Force Base, Guam -- Eighteen F-16s from the 522nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived Wednesday in support of the deployment for the Theater Security Package to the Western Pacific.
The nearly 400-person deployment is part of the continuing force posture to maintain a credible deterrent posture and presence for the region while demonstrating a continued commitment to fulfilling security responsibilities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
"This is a great opportunity for Andersen to demonstrate its flexibility and readiness," said Col. Damian McCarthy, 36th Operations Group commander. "Along with the bombers deployed here, these fighter jets will further prove our continued commitment to regional security and stability by enabling us to rapidly project air dominance and defeat any threat."
While this deployment is not in response to any specific situation, the deployment of forces throughout the Pacific provides unique opportunities to integrate various forces into joint, coalition, and bilateral training from forward operating bases.
According to PACAF officials, Guam is an ideal location for projecting air power in support of this transformation. It has a strategic location, an impressive fuel and munitions storage capability, quality Airmen and civilians, and strong community support. These forward-basing assets give U.S. Pacific Command the capability to respond to any contingency, anywhere in the theater in minimal time.
Also, these deployments send a clear message to any potential adversary that the U.S. is serious about security and stability in the region.
"Andersen is a prime location for us to train and test our ability to deploy," said Maj. James Mansard, 522 EFS assistant director of operations. "While this base provides the perfect staging area, it also allows us to conduct training over water, which is a great opportunity, and participate in joint operations with other services and countries," Major Mansard added.
"We are in line with our mission statement," said Colonel McCarthy, "To provide a U.S.-based lethal warfighting platform for the employment, deployment, reception, and throughput of air and space forces in the Asia-Pacific region."
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in both air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack.