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Valiant Shield wraps up

ANDERSEN AFB, GUAM -- An F-15 deployed here from the 44th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, approaches the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker, from the New Hampshire Air Nation Guard, during Valiant Shield, Aug. 9, 2007.  During the exercise, U.S. Air Force aircraft and personnel from stateside bases and Kadena AB will comprise part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen AFB, Guam.  These forces will participate in integrated joint training with Navy and Coast Guard forces.  Andersen AFB will also be the beddown location for approximately 64 U.S. Air Force and 29 U.S. Navy aircraft, plus transient aircraft, during Valiant Shield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

An F-15 deployed here from the 44th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, approaches the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker, from the New Hampshire Air Nation Guard, during Valiant Shield, Aug. 9, 2007. During the exercise, U.S. Air Force aircraft and personnel from stateside bases and Kadena AB will comprise part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen AFB, Guam. These forces will participate in integrated joint training with Navy and Coast Guard forces. Andersen AFB will also be the beddown location for approximately 64 U.S. Air Force and 29 U.S. Navy aircraft, plus transient aircraft, during Valiant Shield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

F-15 Eagles fly over the Pacific during Valiant Shield Aug. 9. The F-15s are from the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan. During the exercise, Air Force aircraft and Airmen from stateside bases and Kadena AB will comprise part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. These forces will participate in integrated joint training with Navy and Coast Guard forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

F-15 Eagles fly over the Pacific during Valiant Shield Aug. 9. The F-15s are from the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan. During the exercise, Air Force aircraft and Airmen from stateside bases and Kadena AB will comprise part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. These forces will participate in integrated joint training with Navy and Coast Guard forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

ANDERSEN AFB, GUAM - Airman 1st Class Geoffry Schultz, a New Hampshire Air National Guard boom operator, looks out over the Pacific from a  KC-135 Stratotanker, during Valiant Shield Aug. 9, 2007.  During the exercise, U.S. Air Force aircraft and personnel from stateside bases and Kadena Air Base, Japan, work together as part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen AFB, Guam. Andersen AFB will also be the beddown location for approximately 64 U.S. Air Force and 29 U.S. Navy aircraft, plus transient aircraft, during Valiant Shield. Valiant Shield 07, the largest joint exercise in recent history, includes 30 ships, more than 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

ANDERSEN AFB, GUAM - Airman 1st Class Geoffry Schultz, a New Hampshire Air National Guard boom operator, looks out over the Pacific from a KC-135 Stratotanker, during Valiant Shield Aug. 9, 2007. During the exercise, U.S. Air Force aircraft and personnel from stateside bases and Kadena Air Base, Japan, work together as part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen AFB, Guam. Andersen AFB will also be the beddown location for approximately 64 U.S. Air Force and 29 U.S. Navy aircraft, plus transient aircraft, during Valiant Shield. Valiant Shield 07, the largest joint exercise in recent history, includes 30 ships, more than 280 aircraft and more than 20,000 service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

An F-15 Eagle flies over the Pacific during Valiant Shield Aug. 9. The F-15 is from the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan. During the exercise, Air Force aircraft and Airmen from stateside bases and Kadena AB will comprise part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. These forces will participate in integrated joint training with Navy and Coast Guard forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

An F-15 Eagle flies over the Pacific during Valiant Shield Aug. 9. The F-15 is from the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan. During the exercise, Air Force aircraft and Airmen from stateside bases and Kadena AB will comprise part of an expeditionary air wing based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. These forces will participate in integrated joint training with Navy and Coast Guard forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

Members of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division provide intel to the chief of operations during Exercise Valiant Shield Aug. 7 in the Air and Space Operation Center at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The Airmen are from the 613th Air Operations Center. Valiant Shield is a week-long exercise that tests the military's ability to rapidly consolidate joint forces in response to regional contingencies, involves approximately 22,000 troops, 30 ships and some 275 aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Members of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division provide intel to the chief of operations during Exercise Valiant Shield Aug. 7 in the Air and Space Operation Center at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. The Airmen are from the 613th Air Operations Center. Valiant Shield is a week-long exercise that tests the military's ability to rapidly consolidate joint forces in response to regional contingencies, involves approximately 22,000 troops, 30 ships and some 275 aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

KADENA AB, Japan -- Valiant Shield 2007, the largest exercise of its kind in the Pacific, wrapped up seven days of flying operations in the vicinity of Guam Monday. 

During the field training exercise, more than 30 air-refueling sorties were flown, with KC-135 and KC-10 tankers offloading 2.286 million pounds of fuel to airborne aircraft. U.S. Air Force B-52s, F-15Cs, F-16CJs, KC-135s and E-3 AWACS aircraft flew defensive counter air, electronic attack, suppression of enemy air defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, aerial refueling, air interdiction, and anti-surface warfare missions. Several Kadena units deployed to the exercise, including the 44th and 67th Fighter Squadrons, the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron and the 909th Air Refueling Squadron. 

During Valiant Shield, Maj. John Stratton, 18th Operations Support Squadron chief of weapons and tactics, described the exercise as extremely busy with very long days. 

"The 18th Wing's F-15s have been flying 32 counter-air sorties per day," he said. The 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron's E-3 AWACS have also been flying a number of command and control sorties." 

Thirteenth Air Force at Hickam was the overall lead agency for planning the joint U.S. exercise and also served as the joint force air component command under Joint Task Force-519. 

"In an exercise such as Valiant Shield, 13th AF, as the JFACC, provides the command and control capability that allows a synchronized air effort with the surface and the sub-surface efforts, as well as space and other capabilities, into one campaign," said Lt. Gen. Chip Utterback, Valiant Shield Joint Force Air Component Commander. 

Given the Herculean task to plan this large-scale event, exercise planners established specific training objectives that broadly defined enhanced joint war fighting integration and synchronization of forces at the tactical level. 

"One of the most important aspects of this exercise is realistically testing the command and control architecture in a joint environment," said Major Stratton. "This is an extremely difficult scenario and it's very difficult to get the people communicating, by the appropriate means, at the appropriate time, and in the appropriate place." 

"The complexity level mixed with the scale of the field training exercise, along with the command and control, makes Valiant Shield unmatched." said General Utterback. "Our operational tempo this year was higher than last year because we learned lessons and are attempting to apply those lessons and integrate new technologies and command and control capability." 

"For example, bombers coming out of a continental U.S. base were integrated with aircraft launching from aircraft carriers and more than 60 aircraft based at Andersen AFB, Guam, into one scenario. The integration of global capability has taken us to a new level in this exercise." 

Exercise planning had to incorporate long flight times, long transit times for surface vessels, and integrate communications, the space element, and intelligence that provides war fighters the information necessary to create the desired effect on the battlefield.

For more on this story, visit the Kadena Air Base Web site at www.kadena.af.mil
The importance of exercising joint operations to better prepare the total force to respond when needed to promote regional peace and stability in the Pacific region, whether by assisting during a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster or fighting the war on terror, is invaluable. 

"You train as individual services and individual units within that service to build a core competency, which allows you to come into a joint arena. Joint means bringing the capabilities and the competencies of highly-trained, specialized forces together to create a synergistic effect," said General Utterback. 

The training location is ideal for a large-scale exercise like Valiant Shield. There is open air space and open water, creating hundreds of miles of training area in each direction of the battle space. 

"At the lowest level, my objective is for our Airmen, Sailors, and Soldiers to take away a confidence in the joint capabilities they bring to the fight, to have a confidence in their tactics, techniques and procedures, and to have a confidence in the fact that we can bring all elements of the fight together right here in 13th AF to create the desired effect for the JTF commander," said General Utterback. 

Major Stratton praised the 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit's work generating and repairing F-15s day and night during the exercise so pilots could "fly and test their skills in very realistic and difficult combat scenarios" as one of Valiant Shield's success stories. 

"What often gets missed in a big exercise like this, is the individual Airman and Sailor who's out there either below deck or in that hot, humid weather at Andersen fixing an engine on a 40-year-old B-52 or working on an F-16 or F-18," said General Utterback. 
"Those guys really make all of this come together." 

This is the second year the United States has conducted Valiant Shield. The first was in June 2006. 

Master Sgt. Jeffery Loftin, 18th Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this story.