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JBER fighter squadron in Guam for Operation Pacific Iron

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 7:48 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s 525th Fighter Squadron remains ready to respond if needed. Right now, the unit is needed in Guam.

The squadron is among U.S. Air Force units taking part in Operation Pacific Iron.

“We hit the ground running, we’ve been flying all week,” said Lt. Col. Matt Tromans, the commanding officer of the 525th. “What we hope to do is get my folks experience over a vast array of different training scenarios (so) that they’re ready for whatever we ask them to go do.”

Tromans gets to see how his airmen respond to various missions. The exercise also allows him to see how his younger officers react to potential combat.

“(The younger officers) are getting to make decisions about the operations, and the risk acceptance and those sorts of things that are usually reserved for squadron commanders, and director of operations,” Tromans said.

The airmen conduct simulated combat flight operations from airports at Andersen Air Force Base, Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, and Northwest Field, in Guam; and at Tinian International Airport, in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Approximately 25 F-22 Raptors from the 525th Fighter Squadron are taking part in Operation Pacific Iron, according to a press release from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. So are about 10 F-15E Strike Eagles from the 389th Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; and the 199th Fighter Squadron, 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii. There are also two C-130J Hercules from the 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base, Japan.

This exercise takes place shortly another major one. The 525th took part in Northern Edge back in May, which featured all branches of the military. Pacific Iron does not. That’s not the only difference, according to Tromans.

“All of the air space we’re flying in down here in Guam is over water,” Tromans said. “Up in Alaska, we are all over land. We did a little bit of operations over the Gulf of Alaska for Northern Edge.”

Operations have moved to Southeast Asia as U.S. troops train together, should they be called into combat.

Pacific Iron is scheduled to run through the middle of August.

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