Raptor contingents head to Guam and Okinawa


POSTED: Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Air Force again will deploy two contingents of F-22A Raptor combat jet fighters to Guam and Okinawa next month for three months. Twelve of the fighters will deploy to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa from Langley Air Force Base, Va., and another 12 to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.

In February, six stealth fighter jets - built by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. - participated in an inaugural 12-hour test flight from Hawaii to Kadena Air Base when a “;navigation anomaly”; maimed several computer systems on the aircraft as they crossed the international date line, crippling navigation systems and hindering communications.

The planes returned to Hawaii, where engineers were able to locate the problem and fixed the glitch. As a result, the Air Force had to repair 87 of the fighters that faced similar problems.

Twenty F-22 Raptors, fifth-generation Air Force fighters, will be stationed at Hickam Air Force Base and owned by the Hawaii Air National Guard's 199th Fighter Squadron by 2011. They will be crewed by pilots from the active Air Force's 531st Fighter Squadron.

More than 600 Hawaii Air Guard and Air Force personnel will be assigned to the two squadrons.

The 25th Infantry Division on Dec. 9 uncased its unit colors and took responsibility for operations in Multi-National Division North during a ceremony held at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Iraq.

It is the same region and the same base that the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team served in Iraq for 15 months in 2006.

In the transfer of authority ceremony, Maj. Gen. Robert Caslen, 25th Division commander, said: “;You can count on each one of us to do our part to ensure Iraq and her citizens are secure.”;

In an Army news release, Caslen called the chance to serve alongside Iraqi men and women an “;honor and privilege.”;

The Army release said Caslen addressed a crowd of more than 200, included senior Iraqi civilian and military leaders from the northern provinces, saying: “;Our mission is simple, yet tough. It is to defeat (al-Qaida in Iraq) and other anti-coalition and Iraq government elements, to protect and secure the Iraqi people, and to build capacity in the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government in order to establish a secure, stable, and growing Iraqi government and economy.”;

Caslen assumed the title of commanding general of Multi-National Division North, also known as Task Force Lightning, from Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, commanding general of 1st Armored Division, who returns with the unit colors and headquarters to Wiesbaden in Germany.

Caslen will be responsible for an area including the cities of Balad, Kirkuk, Tikrit, Mosul and Samarra.

Caslen and 1,000 soldiers from his Schofield Barracks headquarters lead Task Force Lightning. Major units in the task force include 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Wainwright in Alaska; 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team from the 25th Division at Schofield Barracks; 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood in Texas; and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Drum in New York.


”;In the Military”; was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).