JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – The Hawaiian Air National Guard’s 154th Wing executed a one-of-a-kind exercise in partnership with the Nevada Air National Guard, 15th Wing and Airmen from the 354th Fighter Wing from March 3 to 6.
The exercise’s name, Ho’oikaika, comes from the Hawaiian language, meaning to strengthen and encourage, as it challenged total force Airmen to mobilize and generate stealth air power from three locations. in the multi-island state.
In a rapid dispersal of the F-22 Raptors, the formation relied heavily on airlift capabilities, provided by local C-17 Globemaster IIIs and visiting C-130s from Nevada, each offering packages of support to forward operating locations at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe and Hilo International Airport.
“Ho’oikaika is a new way to conduct exercises,” said the 154th Wing Inspector General, “gently shedding as many simulations as possible by uniquely challenging the skills of our Airmen. We n ‘ve never seen an exercise that is tested in multiple locations for a single organization.
Teams of support Airmen poured in from each cargo plane, setting up mobile infrastructure to provide aircraft maintenance, weapons systems, navigational equipment, communication stations, security details, a unique palette expeditionary kitchen and more.
Capt. Jonothan Harris, 15 Wing Agile Combat Employment Chief and Kaneohe MCB Exercise Lead, explained the three main objectives: to continue to generate air power from airlift, to assess decisions and command and control actions and test their interoperable communications.
“Having the airlift compete with inter-theater requirements versus what the hub and spokes need, and seeing the executive command team make the decision process on how we might getting people and parts to the right place at the right time to get the F-22s off the ground while still on their ATO missions, definitely tests this airlift opportunity,” Harris said.
Unlike previous exercises, participants were challenged to step outside the confines of their specialized career areas as part of the Air Force’s Multi-Capable Airman initiative. Members in the field separated from their regular duty sections and assisted in critical flight line operations, granting new levels of authority to exercise “players” and creating a more self-sufficient force.
While only three days old, Ho’oikiakia was an exercise within an exercise, with all activities in between the regularly held different aircraft training event, Pacific Raptor 22-1.
Previous PR iterations have focused on locally generated combat training between the Hawaiian Raptors, enabled by full-time personnel and visiting partners, such as the 18th Aggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcons from Alaska. But for the duration of Ho’oikaika, most of the 154th Wing was activated to employ the same air power from every alternate location.
“Our mission is to be able to deploy anytime, anywhere,” said Airman 1st Class John Vasko, radio frequency transmission systems apprentice, 292nd Combat Communications Squadron. “We need to be able to establish point-to-point communication links anywhere in the world. Being able to communicate allows the rest of the departments to work more effectively together.