Alaska’s fleet of F-22 fighter jets and their elite pilots have been deployed to an airbase in the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam, according to officials at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage. The deployment has been planned for some time, but happens to coincide with a period of escalating tension in the Pacific Theater, as Japan and China dispute who has the rights to a set of uninhabited, resource-rich islands.
A press release sent out Monday night from JBER said that the F-22 Raptors were deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, located nearly 2,000 miles from China. According to public affairs officer Capt. Ashley Conner, it is the first time since January of 2011 that the F-22s have been deployed to the region, and is part of a series of rotations that began in 2009.
“This deployment is the second F-22 Pacific Command theater deployment since 2011,” Conner said. “The F-22s from Langley AFB, Virginia were the first to deploy. It is a rotational deployment that signifies a continued commitment to regional stability and security and allows our units to become familiar with operating in the Pacific theater.”