The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed three F-35A Lightning II aircraft to Palau in support of exercise Valiant Shield 2022 (VS22).
The F-35A aircraft are assigned to the 356th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron of the 354th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), the host unit at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB), reports Senior Airman Jose Miguel Tamondong.
The deployment will provide an opportunity for the 354th AEW’s F-35A aircraft to collaborate with the multi-domain forces, including the US Marine Corps (USMC), US Navy, Army, and Space Force.
Together, the forces carried out various lethal, precise and overwhelming multi-axis, multi-domain effects to demonstrate the Joint Forces’ versatility and strength.
356th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot 1st lieutenant Joshua Novick said: “It’s great to be able to work together and build those partnerships and be able to work as one cohesive unit because, at the end of the day, we’re all part of the same team.”
Conducting operations in the Western Pacific Island country of Palau allows the US Joint Forces to increase their forward presence and enhance the ability to quickly respond to a variety of crises in the Indo-Pacific region.
The US Joint Forces are regularly deployed for training in the Indo-Pacific to demonstrate its capabilities and defend the nation.
Novick added: “We’re here to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region and operating out of Palau makes it possible to accomplish that goal.
“We have a great relationship with Palau so it’s awesome to be able to come here and work with them to build our relationship with one of our allies in the region.”
VS22 is a field training exercise that began in 2006. The ninth iteration of the series is designed to prepare the Joint Force to respond to crises and contingencies quickly.