Air Force Reserve Command’s Patriot Hook 2016 exercise began Thursday at Los Alamitos Army Airfield and Joint Forces Training Base, south of Los Angeles. The exercise is playing out in earthquake-prone southern California, but includes several East Coast units exercising a regional disaster? response. The 433rd Airlift Control Flight, out of JB San Antonio-Lackland, leads the six-day multi-agency effort integrating local, state, and federal agencies for when civil authorities need defense support. Air Force first-responders “have to learn how to weigh the vehicles and how to weigh the loads, and they have to do it within military standards,” said Minnie Jones, 433rd Airlift Wing spokeswoman. In a disaster, military aircraft are expected to quickly arrive with vehicles, supplies, aid,? and equipment. “Every year, the regulations change … so they practice that, and it’s real-world practice.” Once Reservists established a basic support base, teams loaded and unloaded C-5M and C-17 transports for training missions to NAS North Island and a Navy field on San Clemente Island. Participating AFRC units include 452nd Air Mobility Wing from March ARB, Calif.; 439th Airlift Wing from Westover ARB, Mass.; and the 315th ALCF from JB Charleston, S.C.
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.