US Pacific Command’s Northern Edge 2009, which wrapped up late last month, provided two weeks of joint training in command, control, and communications, mission planning, and air combat for some 9,000 service members and more than 200 aircraft. The US aircraft included USAF F-15, F-16, and F-22 fighters, B-52 bombers, and KC-135 tankers, and USN and USMC F-18s. Among the tanking crews, airmen of Air Force Reserve Command’s 506th Air Refueling Squadron from March ARB, Calif., who deployed to Alaska from their Pacific Region theater security package deployment to Andersen AFB, Guam, pumped almost 11.5 million pounds of fuel. In all eight air refueling units flew more than 166 sorties, with each of 20 tankers usually flying more than 14 sorties per day. (Andersen release on 506th) Read more about Northern Edge in these releases (most with multiple photos of the action): Northern Edge 2009 Gets Buff; Pilot Reflects on Experience at NE;Marines, Airmen Fuel Up Exercise NE; Vampire Bats Take to Skies of Alaska; and Nellis AFB F-15 Crew Chiefs Participate in NE 2009.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.