Misawa starts New Year double booked
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- As the 35th Fighter Wing conducts its Initial Readiness Response Exercise Jan. 10 to Jan. 12 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, it is hard to ignore the busy nature of the flightline.
Despite the fact the flightline plays an integral role during an IRRE, which tests the wing's ability to generate aircraft and deploy combat power, this time it seems to be busier. This is because they are not only simulating going to war, but also preparing for an aviation training relocation exercise next week.
Next week, the 13th Fighter Squadron will deploy to Guam, honing their combat skills and practicing live-munitions drops, which is something they can't do at Misawa.
"We don't have a range here where we can drop live bombs," said Lt. Col. John McDaniel, 13th Fighter Squadron commander. "At our local range, we can only drop inert munitions with a small explosive radius."
However in Guam, the 13 FS will be able to use a range capable of handling much larger explosives, added McDaniel.
Not only will pilots and maintainers gain more experience with their craft, but they will also get out of the bitter cold in Misawa during the winter season.
"When training in a tropical climate, not only are we warm, but we don't have to deal with being delayed during take-off due to snow and the jets have less malfunctions" said Capt. Jason Holmes, 13 FS assistant chief of standardization and evaluation.
Although the two exercises are essentially back-to-back, McDaniel said they aren't having any difficulties completing their tasks. Part of that reason is the 13 FS, 35th Maintenance Group and 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron lead coordinators have developed a way to effectively balance the multiple tasks needed to be mission ready.
"The way things are set up, we have some of the jets and crews getting ready for this simulated combat exercise. The rest are preparing for the training exercise scheduled for next week," said McDaniel.
According to Holmes, this seemingly daunting task is made easier because of the similarities between getting aircraft and people to a simulated war time exercise and an ATR exercise.
"It's true that the exercises are different," said Holmes. "In one scenario we are preparing our pilots and aircraft for a simulated war time setting, while on the other hand we're getting ready for an aviation training exercise. However, despite the differences between the two scenarios, the process of getting our pilots ready for their mission, out-processing procedures and having our maintainers re-configuring the jets for the mission are the similar."
McDaniel added that prioritizing and making sure everything was moving smoothly with the IRRE preparations helped to keep confusion and disorder from occurring within their ranks.
"Although there are times when the lines get a little blurred, we're doing our best to keep the two exercises separated," said McDaniel. "The primary mission, as of right now, is the IRRE and ensuring the 35th Fighter Wing is ready for contingency operations."