Yokota Airmen provide airlift at Red Flag-Alaska

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Juan Torres
  • 374th Airlift Wing

Airmen assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing flew to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to provide joint airlift support during the 2-week exercise, Red Flag-Alaska 18-2.


Representing the Pacific’s Premiere Power Projection Platform, the Yokota Airmen joined the approximately 2,000 total service members participating in the exercise each year. With approximately 1,300 coming from outside Alaska, including more than 200 international visitors.


RF-A is a Pacific Air Force’s-directed field training exercise for U.S. and international forces flown under simulated air combat conditions. It is conducted on the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex with air operations flown primarily out of Eielson Air Force Base and JBER.


“We’re training on how to pre-flight and load cargo, getting these bundles and personnel ready to drop under different conditions,” said Airman 1st Class Jaime Suarez, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules loadmaster. “During the flights we’re an extra pair of eyes in the back of the aircraft. We make sure those drops go out without any problems.”


RF-A is a joint exercise that includes participation from the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps as well as international participation from allied nations.


“Being in the Pacific, we’re always trying to build better partnerships and connections with our hosts,” said Suarez. “When we get to fly with them it’s especially rewarding because we get to show them how we perform our operational procedures, we get to discuss our differences how we can better and learn from each other.”


This year, RF-A is the largest one yet with over 100 aircraft participating from the U.S. and allied nations.


The focus during RF-A is on maximizing regular, bilateral training with long-standing allies, improving integration, interoperability and cross-cultural understanding.


“At Yokota Air Base we’re expected to deliver resources or personnel throughout the Pacific region,” said Capt. Christopher Ansel, C-130J mission planning cell chief. “The airspace in Alaska allows us to better integrate with our joint partners and allied nations participating in the exercise”


This exercise provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support and large-force employment training in a simulated combat environment.