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Iwakuni pilots arrive in Alaska for large-scale Red Flag drills

Marine Corps F-18 Hornet pilots assigned to Fixed Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, secure themselves inside the cockpit, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, during Red Flag-Alaska drills at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

STEVEN DOTY/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 9, 2016

Pilots from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, are in Alaska for large-force Red Flag-Alaska exercises that run through June 17.

F-18 Hornets from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 and Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 are working out of Eielson Air Force Base in a “realistic training environment” that “allows commanders to train for full spectrum engagements ranging from individual skills of pilots to complex, large-scale joint engagements,” a Marine Corps statement said.

The Marines are training with units from the Army and Air Force, which is hosting the drills, Lt. Col. Gregory A. McGuire, Squadron 314’s commanding officer, said in the statement.

“We also have some coalition forces here, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, so it’s a big, combined, joint coalition exercise to work together with a very large number of aircraft to get to know each other, sharing tactics, techniques and procedures on how we would work together if we were called upon to serve in a big, kinetic fight,” he said.

Drills are taking place at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the largest air-, ground- and electronic-combat training range in the world, the statement said. It provides 67,000 square miles of airspace, including a conventional bombing range, two tactical bombing ranges containing more than 500 target types, and 45 threat simulators, both manned and unmanned.

“[Monday’s] event is going to bring in the neighborhood of 70-plus aircraft airborne at one time,” McGuire said. “It is a lot of detailed planning and detailed organization between the elements, but it’s a great training opportunity for the squadron.”

cook.leon@stripes.com

A Marine Corps F-18 Hornet pilot assigned to the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, conducts a pre-flight inspection, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
STEVEN DOTY/U.S. MARINE CORPS

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