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Aerial intercept training prepares warfighters

by Tech. Sgt. Steven Wilson
36th Operations Group Public Affairs

9/28/2007 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFPN) -- F-16 Fighting Falcon crews practiced rapid response situations during aerial intercept training held Sept. 24 at Andersen Air Force Base.

The training took advantage of deployed airframes present on the island, and the "hostiles" in the exercise were deployed KC-135 tankers simulating enemy aircraft. 

"Although the Cold War is long over, and our mission has changed, we must continually adapt to new threats" said Col. Damian McCarthy, the 36th Operations Group commander. "This type of intercept training lets us remain proficient and vigilant in defending our critical resources and personnel."

"This exercise was designed to prepare 522nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron members and Andersen permanent party for an aerial oriented defense scenario," said Capt. Jason Monaco, a 522nd EFS member. "The end goals were to train fighter pilots in alert, scramble and intercept tactics, to test the Andersen senior staff decision-making process and to exercise command-related issues." 

The training was intense and very fast paced, said Capt. Vince O'Connor an F-16 pilot .

"When receiving the order to scramble, aircrews went from waiting in the alert facility to airborne within minutes," Captain O'Connor said. "Once airborne, we were directed by air traffic control to intercept the threat. We conducted an intercept at supersonic speed to get to the engagement as soon as possible.

"The highlight of this exercise, from a fighter pilot perspective, was training to an alert take off in very little time and completing an intercept at supersonic speeds," he said. "The ability to complete rapid and safe intercepts of hostile aircraft allows senior leaders to make timely decisions regarding our strategies to best deal with the bad guys."

The joint training exercises conducted here are aimed toward protecting America's interests, reassuring our friends and allies that we are committed to the region, and promoting stability throughout the Western Pacific Region, Colonel McCarthy said.

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