The first of four C-130s slated for the Alaska Air National Guard’s 144th Airlift Squadron has arrived at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Dictated by 2005 BRAC, the four former Tennessee ANG transports will grow the 144th AS from eight aircraft to 12, forming the basis of a new active duty association between the 144th AS and its active counterpart, the 537th AS. Standing up by month’s end, the 537th AS will reach initial operating capacity this fall. “The active duty will work with the Pacific Air Forces air mobility division so they can task the tails,” said Lt. Col. Richard Adams, 144th AS commander. He added, “Whether it’s the long-range radar sites here in Alaska, or to fly in the desert in a deployed status, or in the Pacific Command area of responsibility will be up to the active duty.” (Elmendorf report by Army SSgt. Karima Turner)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.