Raptor pilot training on Air Force birthday Published Sept. 18, 2006 By Louis A. Arana-Barradas Air Force Print News SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- Capt. Daniel Arkema will be flying the Air Force's newest fighter on the service's birthday -- not eating cake and ice cream and drinking punch. Instead, like for the past 15 years, he and other Airmen around the world will report to work to fight or support the ongoing war on terrorism. This war -- like all the ones before -- is taking Airmen to dangerous, far-flung locations to do their jobs. Some of those jobs they had never done before. Others at stateside bases provide the people and support needed to carry on that war. Captain Arkema is an F-22 Raptor pilot with the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va. He will be flying a training mission in his stealth jet on this day. "I will be flying a training mission," the six-year veteran said. The Air Force may be a year older, but it is doing more today, with a smaller force, than it did even five years ago. Since becoming a separate service in 1947, the Air Force has increased its capabilities and its global reach now stretches into space. Today, the Air Force and its sister services are busy achieving what Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne called spherical situational awareness. This allows the U.S. military to take "a comprehensive, spherical view -- at once vertical, horizontal, real time and predictive, penetrating and defended in the cyber realm." But in a message to the force, Secretary Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley said the Air Force is the globe's dominant force in air, space and cyberspace because of its Airmen. "Our knowledge-enabled Airmen have revolutionized the way our nation defends itself and its allies across the full spectrum of threats," they said. Yet the threats of terror attacks on the nation are still a reality. That makes the Air Force's role even more important. That reality is not lost on the captain from Iowa City, Iowa. "The Air Force can accomplish unique missions that the other services cannot," the captain said. As Airmen continue to do their duty today, there are even more changes taking place. And each day new technology and smart processes make doing Air Force business smarter and more efficient. It is hard to predict where the service will be in five years. But that is clear to Captain Arkema. "We'll still be dominating the air," he said.