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Half fleet-full throttle: Eielson finishes strong during AG 21-2

Twenty-five F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing prepare to launch during Arctic Gold 21-2 April 7, 2021, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. This exercise will evaluate the 354th Fighter Wing’s ability to effectively generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft and deploy personnel and cargo from across the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)

Twenty-five F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing prepare to launch during Arctic Gold 21-2 April 7, 2021, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. This exercise will evaluate the 354th Fighter Wing’s ability to effectively generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft and deploy personnel and cargo from across the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)

Senior Airman Shane Weber, 18th Aggressors Squadron avionics technician, refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon, April 13, 2021, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Airmen trained during Arctic Gold 21-2 to accomplish multiple duties on the flightline, making our force more flexible during rapid deployment operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keith Holcomb)

Senior Airman Shane Weber, 18th Aggressors Squadron avionics technician, refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon, April 13, 2021, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Airmen trained during Arctic Gold 21-2 to accomplish multiple duties on the flightline, making our force more flexible during rapid deployment operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keith Holcomb)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Cambrin Dixon, a 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, picks up a cargo using a forklift during Arctic Gold 21-2 on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 6, 2021. AG 21-2 is a readiness exercise demonstrating the 354th Fighter Wing’s ability to generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft and deploy forces and cargo from across the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T. Tamondong)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Cambrin Dixon, a 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, picks up a cargo using a forklift during Arctic Gold 21-2 on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 6, 2021. AG 21-2 is a readiness exercise demonstrating the 354th Fighter Wing’s ability to generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft and deploy forces and cargo from across the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T. Tamondong)

Twenty five F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing assemble on the flightline prior to taking off during Arctic Gold (AG) 21-2 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 7, 2021. AG 21-2 is a Phase I and Phase II readiness exercise designed to test the wing’s ability to rapidly generate and deploy F-35A Lightning II aircraft, cargo and supporting personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T. Tamondong)

Twenty five F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing assemble on the flightline prior to taking off during Arctic Gold (AG) 21-2 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 7, 2021. AG 21-2 is a Phase I and Phase II readiness exercise designed to test the wing’s ability to rapidly generate and deploy F-35A Lightning II aircraft, cargo and supporting personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T. Tamondong)

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Maj.) Jeffery Scott, the 354th Fighter Wing (FW) deputy wing chaplain, packs a deployment kit during Arctic Gold 21-2 April 8, 2021, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During AG 21-2, Airmen will be practicing Agile Combat Employment capabilities which will allow them to work dislocated operations and still be able to generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Maj.) Jeffery Scott, the 354th Fighter Wing (FW) deputy wing chaplain, packs a deployment kit during Arctic Gold 21-2 April 8, 2021, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During AG 21-2, Airmen will be practicing Agile Combat Employment capabilities which will allow them to work dislocated operations and still be able to generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)

An F-35A Lightning II pilot assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing (FW) renders a squadron hand signal as he taxis to the runway during Arctic Gold 21-2 on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 7, 2021. The purpose of the readiness exercise is to evaluate the wing’s ability to effectively generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft and deploy personnel and cargo from across the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T. Tamondong)

An F-35A Lightning II pilot assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing (FW) renders a squadron hand signal as he taxis to the runway during Arctic Gold 21-2 on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 7, 2021. The purpose of the readiness exercise is to evaluate the wing’s ability to effectively generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft and deploy personnel and cargo from across the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jose Miguel T. Tamondong)

An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing flies over Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 7, 2021. During AG 21-2, Airmen will be practicing Agile Combat Employment capabilities which will allow them to work dislocated operations and still be able to generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft. (U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kaylee Dubois)

An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing flies over Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 7, 2021. During AG 21-2, Airmen will be practicing Agile Combat Employment capabilities which will allow them to work dislocated operations and still be able to generate F-35A Lightning II aircraft. (U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kaylee Dubois)

EIELSON AIR FORCE, Alaska -- The earth shakes continuously as a thunderous roar passes overhead. It’s source--rapid mobilization of Eielson’s entire fighter fleet.

F-35A Lightning IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and KC-135 Stratotankers rips through the clouds and as fast as the noise starts, it stops, and silence falls over the flightline.

Arctic Gold 21-2 was a readiness exercise designed to test Eielson’s rapid deployment capabilities alongside the newly implemented Agile Combat Employment strategy.

“This exercise strengthened our ability to mobilize and deploy lethal, expeditionary, fifth-generation airpower,” said Col. David Berkland, the 354th Fighter Wing Commander. “To deliver combat airpower we need the entire fighter wing team. No matter if you support, defend, or deliver airpower, be ready.”

With only half of its F-35A fleet currently, the 354th FW tested its combat tempo during this exercise by demonstrating its ability to rapidly launch, recover, and refuel the F-35A. The wing accomplished its mission and it was a resounding success.

“This is really the first time our combat squadrons are executing a combat readiness exercise of this scale,” said Maj. Lloyd Wright, the 354th Inspector General director of exercises and inspections. “We worked with units across the wing to provide a realistic training environment that really sharpened our edge as a combat wing.”

The IG office has been using their Wing Inspection Team to oversee the efficiency of AG 21-2 procedures. While battling a large snowstorm and a lot of firsts, the 354th FW continues to prove their readiness for combat in the Pacific Theatre.

During the high tempo launches on the runway, Airmen trained on rapid deployment and support capabilities, enhancing the process along the way.

“This exercise provided a glimpse of the formidable combat capability we provide United States Indo-Pacific Command: Two combat-ready F-35A squadrons on call,” Berkland said. “It wasn’t perfect and we learned a lot, but mobilizing 100 percent of our fifth-generation airpower on short notice is a testament to the hard work and excellence of our fighter wing team. Our mission continues to accelerate as the fighter wing changes to a combat culture and we drive on toward full combat capability, fueled by our disciplined, professional, combat-focused Airmen.”