The 18th Wing is located at Kadena AB, Japan. the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing
received their first F-15C/D's in 1979. It used to consist out of 3
squadrons. The 12nd, 44th & 67th Tactical Fighter Squadrons.
In the early 2000's the 12nd Fighter Squadron "Dirty Dozen" moved from the 18th Wing to the
As the host unit at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan,
the mission of the 18th Wing is to deliver unmatched combat airpower and a
forward-staging base to provide sovereign options that promote peace and
stability in the Asia-Pacific region, ensure the common defense of our
allies, and enhance the United States' unparalleled global engagement
capability. As the largest combat wing in the Air Force, operating out of
the largest Air Force installation in the Pacific, the 18th Wing is ideally
suited to accomplish these critical objectives.
The Wing operates within the framework of the US-Japan security alliance
which was formally established in 1960 with the signing of a Treaty of
Mutual Cooperation and Security. The treaty allows U.S. forces to use
facilities and areas in Japan in order to promote Japanese and American
mutual interests, contribute to the defense of Japan and preserve regional
peace and security. The 18th Wing supports these objectives by providing a
responsive staging and operational air base with integrated, deployable,
forward-based airpower. Located in a critical region, 18th Wing Airmen and
aircraft play a vital geostrategic role in deterring potential threats and
maintaining peace and stability. The base's central location also enables
the Wing to serve as a staging base for humanitarian and disaster relief
efforts throughout the western Pacific, as it did in the aftermath of the
December 2004 tsunami that devastated portions of Indonesia, Thailand,
Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
The 18th Wing's current fleet of aircraft represents a broad spectrum of
combat capability -- F-15C/D air-to-air fighters, KC-135 air refueling
tankers, E-3 AWACS airborne command and control aircraft, and HH-60 Pave
Hawk combat search and rescue helicopters. This robust fleet of aircraft
allows the Wing to deter potential threats in the region and respond quickly
to any contingency.
The Wing's diverse mission is accomplished by its five groups: operations,
maintenance, mission support, civil engineer and medical. The Wing also
provides facilities for U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and other forces
assigned to or transiting Kadena.
The 18th Operations Group is comprised of eight squadrons and one flight.
The group has more than 800 personnel who conduct the Wing's flying mission
on- and off-station with approximately 80 aircraft.
The 18th Maintenance Group has six squadrons with more than 2,400 members.
The group's 18th Munitions Squadron operates and maintains a war reserve
materiel munitions area for the entire Pacific. The 18th Component
Maintenance Squadron maintains the only four-bay engine test cell facility
within Pacific Air Forces.
The 18th Mission Support Group is the largest in the Air Force, boasting six
squadrons and more than 3,800 personnel. The group provides a full spectrum
of mission support to enable combat airpower as well as morale and welfare
services for military members, families and guests.
looking for more information of the 18th Wing in the F-15C/D era, like Wing
rituals, history, personal stories related to the 18th Wing etc) Any
information that you would like to donate can be sent to
A flight of F-15C Eagles from the 44th
Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, flies over the island of Okinawa, Japan
July 22, 2009. The mission took place during a total solar eclipse, a rare
opportunity for service members stationed here to witness this unique event.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chad Warren)
deploys to Alaska for "Northern Edge" Exercise
by Tech Sgt.
18th Wing Public Affairs
6/17/2009 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Roughly
200 Team Kadena maintenance, support, and operations personnel deployed to
Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska to participate in "Northern Edge", a joint
force training exercise from June 15-26.
Northern Edge brings over 9,000 active
duty, reserve, guard, and civilian personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy,
Marines, Army, and Coast Guard together to train in Alaska's vast airspace,
ideal for a large force exercise to operate over both ocean and mountainous
of the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena
and Mission Commander for the exercise, Lt. Col. Brian Farrar said the exercise
is designed to validate current tactics, enhance joint integration, and
improve command, control, and communication capabilities among
"It is not a competition and we don't receive a grade," Lt. Col. Farrar
said. "It is an opportunity to test our tactics and equipment in a very
difficult operational environment."
Aircraft from bases throughout the Pacific and continental U.S. are
operating out of Elmendorf and Eielson Air Force Bases as well as the
aircraft carrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis. Adversaries are comprised of Air
Force units from Eielson and Nellis Air Force Bases along with other Air
Force, Navy, and contract participants.
"The 18th Wing's contribution to Northern Edge is primarily at the tactical
level as we provide F-15 air superiority, KC-135 air refueling, and AWACs
command and control," the Lt. Col. said.
He said that the exercise gives 18th Wing participants a taste of air
warfare against highly capable threats similar to those they could encounter
in the Pacific area of operations.
"It enables us to refine tactics and capabilities in a controlled
environment and allows us to make mistakes that we would not want to make in
the first few days of combat," he added.
Maintainers from five different squadrons in the 18th Maintenance Group make
up over half of the personnel deployed from Kadena.
The maintainers are working alongside Airmen from other Air Force bases as
well as maintainers from the Navy and Marine Corps. Though from different
services, they all have the same mission goal in mind. To provide safe and
effective combat aircraft to meet the daily exercise flying schedule so
their pilots can practice operations, techniques and procedures, as well as
enhance interoperability among the services.
"It is always a challenge to pack out enough tools, equipment and parts to
maintain 12 F-15's for over three
weeks," said Capt. Christian Backhaus, 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit's
Officer in Charge. "Whenever we deploy to exercises such as this it gives us
an opportunity to hone and sharpen our deployment skills."
He added that one of the benefits to training in Alaska is that the Airmen
are able to focus on the mission without the daily distractions that would
be present at home station, such as leave or appointments.
The Captain praised the maintainers and said he is very proud of how they
have been coping with the unique challenges that come with deployments.
The maintainers generate an average of 18 sorties per day with
12 F-15 aircraft during the Northern Edge exercise.
One way to keep maintainers motivated during the long days and hard work is
through the incentive flight program. Exercises, such as this one, are the
ideal opportunity to provide incentive flights.
Operations and maintenance work hard to take advantage of the opportunity.
It allows the pilots to give their maintainers a token of their appreciation
while at the same time giving them insight into the rigors that both the
pilots and the aircraft go through during flight, the Capt. said.
"Being successful with a full flying schedule and limited resources such as
aircraft and parts and equipment, takes a lot of hard work and we really
have to be on top of our game," the Captain said. "We have the best Airmen
in the world; this exercise is our chance to show that."
exercise Cope Tiger 2009 kicks off
by Capt. Erika Yepsen
13th Air Expeditionary Wing-CT09 Public Affairs
3/10/2009 - KORAT, Thailand (AFNS) -- The
first flights of Cope Tiger 2009 launched March 9, filling the sky above
Thailand with fighter aircraft and signaling the 15th year of partnership
between the United States, Thailand and Singapore militaries.
Cope Tiger is an annual, multilateral aerial exercise which divides Thai,
Singaporean and U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft into two
mixed groups, pitting them against each other in a mock battle.
"The first few days we start off with small numbers of aircraft against each
other, like two versus two, then we build into mini-large force exercises
with approximately 10 versus 20 aircraft," said Capt. Jeff Watts, officer in
charge of the Live Fly Cell, deployed from the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base,
Japan. "Then we'll get into the large force exercise where we'll have about
50 aircraft versus 15."
More than 1,200 U.S. servicemembers and 55 aircraft from the U.S. Air Force,
Navy and Marine Corps are participating in this year's exercise.
Along with their Thai and Singaporean counterparts, U.S. aircrews will
conduct dissimilar basic fighter maneuvers training, dissimilar air combat
tactics training, close-air-support training, tactical airdrop training and
large force employment training at both Korat and Udon Thani Royal Thai air
"The sharing of culture and ideas was the keystone of the actual exercise,"
said Navy Lt. Tom Jillson, an F/A-18E
pilot from Carrier Air Wing 5, Naval Air Facility-Atsugi in Japan,
describing his experience in Cope Tiger 2007. "The Thais were great hosts.
They were very happy to discuss flying, and you found out that, despite the
language barrier, you're kind of the same."
The sharing of ideas and culture has also inspired Col. Robert Huston, a
first-time Cope Tiger participant and commander of the 13th Air
"This exercise is a tremendous opportunity for us to interact and to learn
about each other," said Colonel Huston. "We all do things a little
differently, for reasons that work for our individual countries, but we also
all have things we can learn from each other.
"I was already impressed by the very strong partnership our countries have,
but here I've seen the relationship improve and grow. It's exciting because
this good relationship has enabled us to expand the exercise this year, to
include adding a Thai Army airborne operation out of a U.S. Air Force C-17 [Globemaster
In addition to the flying portion of the exercise, Cope Tiger also includes
a two-phase humanitarian and civic assistance portion. In the first phase,
exercise participants will donate school supplies, sports equipment and
other supplies to local schools.
During the second phase joint teams of medical, optometry and dental
personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Royal Thai Air Force and Republic of
Singapore Air Force will provide care to more than 2,000 Thai citizens.
The two-week exercise will conclude with a closing ceremony in Korat,
Thailand, March 20.
over Northern Edge
by Capt. Jon
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Crew
Chiefs from Kadena Air Base, Japan, conduct pre-flight checks on F-15 Eagles
at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, May 13, 2008. There are more than 30
F-15s participating the Northern Edge exercise. The F-15 is a tactical
fighter designed to gain and maintain air superiority. (U.S. Air Force Photo
by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Steffen)
5/29/2008 - KADENA AB, Japan -- Whether
managing and controlling the dynamic war from the E-3 Sentry, battling red
air in the F-15 Eagle, or supporting the fight with valuable maintenance on
the ground, over 200 Airmen from Kadena Air Base played a huge role in
support of Exercise Northern Edge 2008.
This joint exercise is the largest in Alaska with over 120 Air Force, Navy,
Marine, Army and Air National Guard aircraft and over 5,000 personnel from
all services. Kadena's support included an E-3 Sentry from the 961st
Airborne Air Control Squadron, F-15C Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron,
KC-135 Stratotankers from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, and maintenance,
aircrew flight equipment and intelligence support from the 18th Maintenance
and Operations Groups.
Command and Control
Northern Edge provides large scale military training by focusing on command
and control, communication, service interoperability and integration of new
systems and technologies. Controlling all those moving parts in such a large
scale took an enormous amount of planning and patience according to 961st
The E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System or AWACS, provides an
accurate, real-time picture of the battle space. Using this system 961st
AACS operators manage the tactical situation ensuring all threats are
targeted by joint fighter/attack aircraft, all surface targets are
destroyed, aircraft are refueled on time and safe operations are
"(AWACS) is a critical piece of the puzzle. It's our job as tactical command
and control to manage all the real-time dynamic pieces of the exercise,"
said Capt Rocky Entwistle, 961st AACS senior director. "Additionally this
exercise gives us the opportunity to work with multiple tactical platforms.
This gives our controllers an opportunity to employ the newest tactics with
the newest fighters."
F-22, Forth Generation Aircraft Integration
Large scale, multiple platform execution gave everyone in the
exercise an enhanced and more realistic opportunity to learn and practice
how to employ together as one joint force. Integration of fighter, attack,
and command and control tactics is integral to successful operations.
"Learning how to incorporate our tactics with those of other fighters is a
great opportunity," said Maj. Eric Gilbert, an F-22 pilot from the 525th
Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
"With (F-22) sensors we are able to have and provide greater situational
awareness to 4th generation fighters and the entire package," Maj. Gilbert
said. "Integration of the F-22 is an evolving process."
Integration between Air Force F-22's and Navy/Marine Corps fighter aircraft
was a first for many pilots and provided valuable lessons and ways ahead for
Kadena F-15 Support
The 67th FS provided the largest part of the counter air fighter
support with 24 F-15C's feeding the fight.
"This exercise is a vital step in preparing the wing for actual combat
conditions," said Lt. Col. Barry Cornish, 67th FS commander in an earlier
interview. "We'll be able to try some of the tactics, techniques, and
procedures we've been working on."
Kadena pilots learned and taught others during the exercise, drawing on
their experiences to perfect the plan. Integrating with the other dissimilar
aircraft in the exercise was a highlight.
Kadena Airmen from maintenance, aircrew flight equipment and
intelligence are provided an essential part of the fight. While operations
are unique and demanding, Airmen on the ground learned and saw new things
According to Northern Edge leadership, maintenance provided outstanding
support producing jets to launch on time. Maintenance worked around the
clock and without their support none of the sorties would have launched.
Intelligence Airmen also played a key role. They supported leaders and
aircrew valuable information for the fight.
"Our role is to provide the (aircrew) situational updates on the general
threat and overview of the exercise advisory. The difference is higher ops
tempo," said Staff Sgt. Matt Parr, 67th Fighter Squadron intel analyst.
A major goal of Northern Edge was not just to learn from the new
experiences and tactics, but also from mistakes. The evidence was clear as
lessons were incorporated as each mission became more complex yet execution
gets better, according to Northern Edge leadership.
"Capturing those lessons learned in each mission is the most important thing
we can do," said Lt. Col. Matt Mace, 961st AACS deputy commander. "The
insertion of new technology into proven tactics requires some trial and
error. We go to battle with the personnel and equipment available at the
time. Exercises like Northern Edge allow us to develop, prove and practice
our most lethal methods in a safe environment."