‘Ready Elmendorf’ prepares PACAF’s F-22s

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- Pacific Air Forces officials are excited about bringing the F-22 Raptor to the command; however, the aircraft will start their training in Virginia before actually landing on the Alaskan tarmac. 

"Through a concept known as Ready Elmendorf, Alaska's aircraft and pilots will initially operate at Langley Air Force Base and take advantage of the 1st Fighter Wing's F-22 operations and maintenance experience," explained Lt. Col. Robert J. Craven, Chief, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces F-22 Program Integration Office. 

While at Langley, Elmendorf's Raptors will sport the "AK" tail flash and pilots assigned to PACAF will wear Elmendorf's 90th Fighter Squadron patches; however, they will be fully integrated into Langley's 27th and 94th Fighter Squadrons. "These aircraft and pilots will operate in nearly every respect as if they were permanently assigned to these squadrons," the colonel said. 

Once Elmendorf's F-22s begin the transfer from Langley to their permanent home in Alaska, the PACAF pilots will transfer as well. Currently, the first F-22s are scheduled to transfer from Langley to Elmendorf no later than January 2008. Eventually, Elmendorf will stand up two active-duty F-22 squadrons - the 90th and 525th Fighter Squadrons, as well as a reserve associate squadron, the 302nd Fighter Squadron. 

"The operational experience gained by PACAF's pilots while at Langley, along with the expert care for "AK" Raptors provided by Langley's experienced maintainers, will minimize the time required for Elmendorf's squadrons to achieve mission readiness," added Col. Craven. 

"Alaska is an incredibly important strategic location. Bedding this aircraft at Elmendorf Air Force Base will give us the capability to immediately respond to any crisis across the vastness of the Pacific, while still being able to quickly fly over the top to reach Europe and the Middle East," said PACAF commander General Paul V. Hester. 

In the future, the Raptor will also be assigned to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. Two squadrons, the 199th Fighter Squadron of the Hawaii Air National Guard and the active associate 531st Fighter Squadron, will employ the F-22.

For more information on the F-22A Raptor, check out: http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=199
For more information on Pacific Air Forces, check out: http://www.pacaf.af.mil/
For more information on Elmendorf Air Force Base, check out: http://www.elmendorf.af.mil/