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The Rock crosses the Pacific

The Rock crosses the Pacific

A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, lands at Yokota Air Base, Japan, as part of a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 8, 2020. The capstone and agile combat employment provides a unique training opportunity while exposing the 61st Airmen to a new training environment in the Indo-Pacom area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

Airmen assigned to the 19th Operations Group from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, listen to a briefing as part of a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 9, 2020. The capstone and agile combat employment provides a unique training opportunity while exposing 19th OG Airmen to the Indo-Pacom area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, taxis on the runway at Yokota Air Base, Japan, as part of a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 11, 2020. The capstone and agile combat employment provides a unique training opportunity while exposing 61st AS Airmen to the Indo-Pacom Area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

A C-130J Super Hercules pilot assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, waves before takeoff at Yokota Air Base, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. The capstone and agile combat employment provides a unique training opportunity while exposing the 61st Airmen to the challenges of flying in the Indo-Pacom area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

C-130J’s Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron as well as the 41st and 61st AS from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, fly in formation over Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, were able to complete formation flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron flies over Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, were able to complete formation flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron flies over Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, were able to complete formation flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

A Parachute opens as a bundle floats toward the ground after being released from a C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, were able to complete formation-flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific

A Parachute opens as a bundle floats toward the ground after being released from a C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. The capstone provided a unique training opportunity for the 36th AS while exposing the 41st and 61st AS from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, to the challenges of flying in the Indo-PACOM AOR. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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C-130J’s assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron as well as the 41st and 61st AS from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, fly in formation over Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. The capstone provided a unique training opportunity for the 36th AS while exposing the 41st and 61st AS from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, to the Indo-PACOM AOR. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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A heavy-equipment payload is dropped from a C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st Airlift Squadrons from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, were able to complete formation flight training ,as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron flies over Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st were able to complete formation-flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, flies over Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. This capstone and agile combat employment provides a unique training opportunity while exposing the 61st Airmen to the Indo-Pacom area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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A heavy equipment payload sits in the drop zone at the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th Airlift Squadron as well as the 41st and 61st AS out of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, were able to complete formation flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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An Airman with the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron pulls the canopy and suspension lines before folding and stowing the canopy inside the recovery bag at the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, Feb. 10, 2020. After all of the bundles landed in the DZ, Airmen with the 374th LRS combat mobility flight gathered each bundle along with the parachutes to bring back to Yokota Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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An Airman with the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron folds the suspension lines before stowing the canopy inside the recovery bag at the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, Feb. 10, 2020. After all of the bundles landed in the DZ, Airmen with the 374th LRS combat mobility flight gathered each bundle along with the parachutes to bring back to Yokota Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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An Airman directs a U.S. Marine Corps. articulated steering, multipurpose vehicle (TRAM) assigned to the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. Airmen from the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron loaded the eight bundles and parachutes onto a truck to be taken back to Yokota. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, flies over Camp Fuji, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st were able to complete formation-flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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Airmen assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, prepare for takeoff at Yokota Air Base, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 13, 2020. During the exercise, aircraft from the 36th AS as well as the 41st and 61st from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, were able to complete formation flight training as well as drop pallets consisting of simulated heavy equipment and containerized delivery system bundles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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1st Lt. Riley Richards, left, and 1st Lt. Nate Singer, right, both 61st Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilots out of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, fly over Japan during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 13, 2020. The exercise involved various types of training, including distributed operations, agile combat employment, Combat Air Force integration, and executing mission type orders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Flies over Yokota Air Base, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 13, 2020. The capstone and agile combat employment provides a unique training opportunity while exposing 61st AS Airmen to the Indo-Pacom Area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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Airmen assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, land at Yokota Air Base, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 13, 2020. The exercise involved various types of training, including distributed operations, agile combat employment, Combat Air Force integration, and executing mission type orders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, sits parked at Yokota Air Base, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 13, 2020. The exercise involved various types of training, including distributed operations, agile combat employment, Combat Air Force integration, and executing mission type orders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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Airmen assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, pose for photo at Yokota Air Base, Japan, during a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 13, 2020. The exercise involved various types of training, including distributed operations, agile combat employment, Combat Air Force integration, and executing mission type orders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

The Rock crosses the Pacific
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Six C-130J Super Hercules’ assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron and the 61st AS from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, perform an Elephant Walk at Yokota AB, Japan, as part of a capstone exercise taking place in the Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility, Feb. 14, 2020. The exercise involved various types of training, including distributed operations, agile combat employment, Combat Air Force integration, and executing mission type orders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --

Airmen from Yokota Air Base welcomed four Air Mobility Command C-130J’s from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, as part of a capstone exercise Feb. 8-19, 2020.

“Yokota has a very unique AOR,” said Capt. John Walitsch, 61st Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot. “By the 61st flying out, we get to enhance our skill set and learn how to fly in different parts of the world where there may be language barriers, different air space, and problems we may need to overcome.”

The 19th Airlift Wing Airmen flew thousands of miles to integrate with Pacific Air Forces C-130J’s from Yokota Air Base, Japan, as part of a larger exercise culminating the 4/12 deployment initiative, a 12-month process focused on sharpening readiness and preparing for tomorrow’s fight.

With the new 4/12 initiative, AMC squadrons can deploy all their aircraft at once, creating the same down-range impact with a more cohesive training unit at home and less time away from family.

Since 9/11, deployments have been four months long followed by four months home—sending a few aircraft at a time, resulting in a constant deployment rotation and a consistently fragmented squadron at home, said Walitsch.

This training provided diverse flight operation opportunities while allowing the 41st Airlift Squadron and 61st AS to operate in the Department of Defense’s largest area of responsibility.

To help the 61st adapt to a new environment, Yokota Airmen worked alongside the LRAFB Airmen, furthering their own training and strengthening their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“It really has been a wing effort to receive them,” said Capt. Sean Boyington, 36th AS C-130J pilot and event coordinator. “We are practicing our reception working group here, which encompasses every organization and squadron on base.

“It allows us to be able to receive incoming aircraft, house them, provide maintenance, and process their cargo. We are able to brief them on local air space and any kind of special instructions we have for this AOR, utilizing aircraft from other locations to help bolster our capability if necessary.”

The exercise was a success overall, said Boyington. With all seven aircrafts from both wings flying in joint formations as planned, before the 61st completed training and returned home to their own installations.

“We are guests at Yokota and this air space, but we are one big Hercules family,” said 1st Lt. Riley Richards, 61st AS C-130J pilot. “Having that tight-knit community makes training in these new environments all the easier. Given the opportunity to come back, I would really enjoy another opportunity to train alongside the Airmen and aircrews of Yokota.”