F-35A Lightning IIs from the 355th Fighter Squadron (FS) 'Fightin' Falcons' at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB), Alaska, and F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 336th FS 'Rocketeers' at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, have arrived at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, to further ensure the USAF's continued fighter presence in the region while the base's resident F-15C/D Eagles are returned to the continental US.
The aircraft have been deployed alongside other joint and allied forces to strengthen the resolve to defend Japan and keep the Indo-Pacific region safe and stable.
Commenting on the 355th FS's latest F-35A deployment, Lt Col Michael Mickus - the unit's commander - said: "This is the squadron's first deployment since reaching Full Operating Capability in February 2023. Operating from Kadena offers the Falcon ops and maintenance an important opportunity to hone our skills and processes to execute efficiently and effectively in a sustained deployment environment while working alongside the joint force and our allies."
This deployment of fourth- and fifth-generation fighters to Kadena shows that the 18th Wing remains postured to deliver credible lethal airpower and ensure the defense of US allies in the region. While in Japan, crews and aircraft will be rotated around several forward operating locations throughout the Indo-Pacific region, Mickus continued.
Col Henry Schantz, commander of the 18th Operations Group, added: "Training in the Indo-Pacific region is a valuable opportunity for deployed units. The units bring their own distinct skillsets and experiences from around the globe to hone their skill to address pacing threats while bolstering alliances.
"We're excited to welcome the Strike Eagle to the Keystone of the Pacific. The F-15E is a proven combat platform that brings some unique capabilities into our already formidable mix of aircraft here at Kadena," he said.