Monday, September 26, 2016

AIR CONTINGENT | US deploys Pacific Air Forces assets to Mactan at PH invitation

From InterAksyon (Sep 26): AIR CONTINGENT | US deploys Pacific Air Forces assets to Mactan at PH invitation

File photograph of air preparedness exercise. Erwin Mascarinas, InterAksyon

The United States carried out the third iteration of the so-called Air Contingent in the Philippines on September 25 "at the invitation of the Government of the Philippines, and at the direction of the U.S. Pacific Commander."

An announcement of the US Air Force indicated that, as part of this contingent, "the U.S. Air Force has deployed two C-130 Hercules aircraft and approximately 100 Airmen from the 374th Air Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and the 36th Contingency Response Group from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam," to Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, Lapu-Lapu City.

While there, the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Airmen are conducting "bilateral training missions as well as Subject Matter Expert Exchanges, and integrating with units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)."

The purpose of the Air Contingent, is "to promote increased interoperability between U.S. and Filipino forces, and to further enhance security cooperation between the allies."

The announcement said that "PACAF Airmen stood up the first rotation of an Air Contingent at Clark Air Base, Philippines, in April 2016, following a joint announcement by then-Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that highlighted several initiatives aimed to reinforce our long-standing relationship with the Philippines, and to reaffirm our commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."

The two-week Air Contingent in April consisted of A-l0C Thunderbolt IIs, HH-60G Pave Hawks, and approximately 200 personnel from multiple PACAF units.

The second two-week iteration of the Air Contingent, stood up June 15, 2016, was comprised of EA-18G Growlers and Navy personnel.

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