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Begert: PACAF bases will see increased operations tempo in coming months
By Wayne Specht, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Monday, February 4, 2002

Air Force troops at Pacific Air Force bases can expect to see an increased operations
tempo in the coming months.



That’s the word to troops by PACAF’s top commander, Gen. William J. Begert,
during a stop Tuesday at Alaska’s Eielson Air Force Base. "We were a busy
command prior to 9-11, just like the rest of the Air Force," Begert said. "Since
then, the ops tempo has gone up — and we’ve increased the effort even more with
alerts in Hawaii, Guam and Alaska."



PACAF is supporting the increasing presence of U.S. military advisers in the
Philippines that has swelled to more than 600 troops in the past several weeks.



He also mentioned PACAF’s involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom.



"We’ve set up a tanker bridge across the Pacific a couple of times for
bombers on their way to targets. We’ve deployed and redeployed people in several
places."



That bridge involved positioning KC-10 and KC-135 aerial refueling tankers along the
route that B-1B, B-52 and B-2 bombers from the United States used to reach
British-controlled Diego Garcia. Bombers used the island as a staging ground for bombing
runs in Afghanistan, 2,500 miles away. Even though Begert said he sees PACAF’s
operations tempo remaining high, he said holding to the Aerospace Expeditionary Force
rotations is a command priority, too.



"We’re going to try hard to hold to the AEF 90-day rotations to the maximum
extent that we can," Begert said. He added, however, that the Air Force will unable
to hold to this policy for all career fields. "There will be a part of our Air Force
where we just can’t do it," Begert said. "Those career fields may be
deployed for 120 days, and even some cases where it will go to 179 days."



Fighter wings assigned to Misawa’s 35th Fighter Wing, the 18th Wing at Kadena Air
Base, Okinawa, the 3rd Wing at Alaska’s Elmendorf Air Force Base, and the 354th
Fighter Wing at Eielson pull AEW rotations.



"What you’re seeing now is a systematic year-by-year commitment on the part
of Air Force senior leadership to invest in our dorms," Begert said. "We’re
a whole lot better off now than 10 years ago. It’s been the one part of the budget we
protected during the tough budget times of the 1990s. It’s going to be a few years
before PACAF declares a victory. But, in four or five years we’re going to be second
to none."



(Pacific Air Force news service sources were used in this report.)




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