Raptors roll out to Pacific

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Approximately 280 Langley Airmen and 12 F-22 Raptors from the 94th Fighter Squadron depart this week for their Air Expeditionary Force deployment.

The 94th FS, along with members of the Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing, are deploying to Kadena Air Base, Japan, as part of a theater security package being sent to the Western Pacific.

"This deployment is an excellent avenue to ensure that all facets of our unique brand of air power are able to perform at a moment's notice," said Lt. Col. Adrian Spain, 94th FS commander. "Many of our pilots and maintainers have not experienced this type of deployment with the Raptor, so it will be an opportunity to prove our ability to respond anywhere, anytime."

This is the first overseas deployment for the 94th FS since transitioning to the F-22 Raptor. As part of their preparation for the deployment, the squadron worked with the 27th FS, who returned from their deployment to Kadena in April.

"They captured all of their lessons learned and passed them on to us to help make sure the deployment is even better," said Lt. Col. Pete Fesler, 94th FS director of operations.

Specifically, the squadron learned what type of cargo and spare parts to bring to ensure the jets are working at their optimum performance, said Colonel Fesler.

They also prepared for the type of training they will conduct during the deployment. The 94th FS plans to train with and against the F-15 Eagles based at Kadena, as well as the Japan Air Self Defense Forces and the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornets. The squadron will be able to practice the way they would fight - as part of a coalition or joint team.

"We've been working for a long time toward this deployment," said Colonel Fesler. "It's a great opportunity for the Spads to throw their hat in the ring."