U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nathan Jake Legaspi Perez, back, and Airman Basic Jeremy Franklin, 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chiefs, stand by while an F-16 Fighting Falcon is being inspected for their real-world trip to Guam at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 11, 2013. During the base-wide initial readiness response exercise, maintainers were generating jets for a simulated wartime scenario and a real-world training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson)
U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason Holmes, 13th Fighter Squadron assistant chief of standardization and evaluation, inspects an F-16 Fighting Falcon during an initial readiness response exercise at Misawa Air Base, Japan, 11, 2013. During the inspection, Holmes looked for anything that is missing or improperly installed on the missile. The base is preparing for a real-world training exercise in conjunction with the IRRE. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson)
by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/11/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- As Airmen with the 35th Fighter Wing engage in an initial readiness response exercise Jan. 10 to 12 at Misawa Air Base, it is hard to ignore the extraordinarily busy nature of the flightline.
Despite the fact the flightline plays an integral role during an IRRE, which tests the wing's ability to generate aircraft and deploy combat power, this time the flightline seems to be busier. This is because they are not only simulating going to war, but also preparing for an aviation training relocation exercise.
Next week, the 13th Fighter Squadron will deploy to Guam to hone combat skills and practice live-munitions drops, which is something they can't do at Misawa AB.
"We don't have a range here where we can drop live bombs," said Lt. Col. John McDaniel, the 13th Fighter Squadron commander. "At our local range, we can only drop inert munitions with a small explosive radius."
In Guam, 13 FS Airmen will be able to use a range capable of handling much larger explosives, McDaniel added.
Not only will pilots and maintainers gain more experience with their craft, but they will also get out of the bitter cold at Misawa during the winter season.
"When training in a tropical climate, not only are we warm, but we don't have to deal with being delayed during take-off due to snow and the jets have less malfunctions," said Capt. Jason Holmes, the 13th FS assistant chief of standardization and evaluation.
Although the two exercises are essentially back-to-back, McDaniel said the crews aren't having any difficulties completing their tasks. Part of that reason is that 13 FS, 35th Maintenance Group and 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron lead coordinators have developed a way to effectively balance the multiple tasks needed to be mission ready.
"The way things are set up, we have some of the jets and crews getting ready for this simulated combat exercise. The rest are preparing for the training exercise scheduled for next week," McDaniel said.
According to Holmes, this seemingly daunting task is made easier because of the similarities between getting aircraft and people to a simulated wartime exercise and an aviation training relocation exercise.
"It's true that the exercises are different," Holmes said. "In one scenario we are preparing our pilots and aircraft for a simulated wartime setting, while on the other hand we're getting ready for an aviation training exercise. However, despite the differences between the two scenarios, the process of getting our pilots ready for their mission, out-processing procedures and having our maintainers reconfiguring the jets for the mission are the similar."
McDaniel added that prioritizing and making sure everything was moving smoothly with the IRRE preparations helped to keep confusion and disorder from occurring within their ranks.
"Although there are times when the lines get a little blurred, we're doing our best to keep the two exercises separated," McDaniel said. "The primary mission, as of right now, is the IRRE and ensuring the 35th Fighter Wing is ready for contingency operations."