Pilots from Singapore and Arizona train together in Idaho


Staff Sgt. Rick Akers, 152nd Fighter Squadron crew chief, kneels on the flightline at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, on Aug. 22. Arizona Air National Guardsman came here to utilize the available runway space in order to train students on the F-16 Fighting Falcon. (Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Air Force)

The Air Force and the Defense Department as a whole has been vocal about its shift to the Pacific, and usually that focuses on airmen heading across that ocean.

But the continental U.S. also plays host to foreign airmen from other countries, and the service is highlighting a specific group: F-16 pilots visiting Idaho from Singapore, and the Air National Guardsmen training them.

Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, this month has been home to visiting Air National Guard pilots from Arizona who are training F-16 pilots from Singapore in combat air-to-air operations. The guardsmen, short on flying hours at their home station of Tuscon International Airport, can fly with the visiting pilots to be opposing forces.

“We are here training RSAF students because back home it’s very hard getting every student the required amount of flying hours so we bring them up here and fly red-versus-blue air forces,” Lt. Col. Julian Pacheco, assistant director of operations for the 152nd Fighter Squadron, according to a release. “Our mission is to ensure these international students are properly and expertly trained for combat situations in the F-16. Being here gives us the additional sorties needed for weapons course evaluations.”

The pilots from Singapore are involved in a five-month course, and the current training is specifically air-to-air, focusing on intercepts and air-combat tactics at a medium altitude.


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