USFJ Commander praises U.S., Japan, Republic of Korea cooperation on fighter aircraft

A South Korea air force KF-16 Fighting Falcon takes off during Red Flag-Alaska 15-1 Oct. 9, 2014, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. This exercise marks the first time South Korea air force KF-16s have participated in Red Flag-Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Taylor Curry)

A South Korea air force KF-16 Fighting Falcon takes off during Red Flag-Alaska (RF-A) 15-1 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2014. RF-A is a Pacific Air Forces field training exercise designed to integrate airpower and practice joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, and close air support in a simulated combat environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Taylor Curry)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Six Republic of Korea (ROK) KF-16 fighter aircraft that had diverted to Yokota AB, Japan, Thursday were able to continue their flight to Alaska Sunday after the U.S. Air Force was able to reschedule the mid-air refueling support necessary to cross the Pacific Ocean.

 

The aircraft were en route to Alaska to participate in Exercise Red Flag 2017 when they diverted to the U.S. air base in Japan due to a mechanical issue with their original refueling support. Under the International Civil Aviation Organization, the fighter aircraft requested and were granted clearance to land at Yokota Air Base. After the issue with the airborne tankers was resolved, all six aircraft continued their mission to Alaska and are now participating in the scheduled exercise.

 

"The United States has enjoyed an extraordinary record of cooperation and true partnerships with Japan and the Republic of Korea. While our alliance with each nation is based on shared values and great respect between our peoples, trilateral cooperation has never been more important.  The fantastic cooperation shown in this unexpected event is an example of our deepening trilateral relationship," said Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, commander of U.S. Forces, Japan.

 

Exercise Red Flag (Alaska) is a Pacific Air Forces field training exercise designed to integrate airpower and practice joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, and close air support in a simulated combat environment.