Fighter jets descend on Yokota ahead of Alaska air exercise
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Twelve F-16 fighter planes assigned to Osan Air Base in South Korea stopped in western Tokyo on Friday on their way to Alaska, while South Korean fighters forced to land yesterday remained in Japan a little longer.
The Fighting Falcons from the 36th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Wing, shared ramp space at Yokota Air Base with six South Korean F-16s, which made emergency landings Thursday after a refueler plane malfunctioned.
The Air Force has also sent 12 Osan-based A-10 Thunderbolt II “tank killer” jets to Alaska for the Red Flag aerial combat exercise this month. The close support aircraft, which left a few days prior to the F-16s, spent Memorial Day weekend at Yokota.
“To alleviate the amount of aircraft on the runway and the amount of refueling at once, we split the arrival of the A-10 and F-16s,” said Tech. Sgt. Ashley Tyler, a 51st Fighter Wing spokeswoman.
Some of the Alaska-bound planes began leaving for Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Richardson-Elmendorf on Wednesday, Air Force officials said.