Marine, South Korean and Japanese fighters and two Air Force bombers conducted a show of force operation over Japan and bombing practice over South Korea, U.S. Pacific Command announced on Thursday.
The operation was in reaction to the Aug. 28 North Korean intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan.
The operation consisted of two B-1B Lancers operating from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; four U.S. Marine F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Forces operating from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force sent two F-15Js and Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) flew F-15Ks Slam Eagles as part of the operation.
During the 10-hour mission, the Marine F-35s, the Lancers and JASDF fighters flew near Kyushu, Japan.
“The U.S. and ROKAF aircraft then flew across the Korean Peninsula and practiced attack capabilities by releasing live weapons at the Pilsung Range training area before returning to their respective home stations,” read the release.
In a statement, Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander Pacific Air Forces praised the operation and the message it sent.
“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly,” O’Shaughnessy said in a statement.
“This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat. Our forward-deployed force will be the first to the fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment’s notice if our nation calls.”
The F-35s from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 “Green Knights “arrived at MCAS Iwakuni in January and is set to deploy with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit later this year.
“The F-35 embodies our commitment to our allies and contributes to the overall security and stability of the Indo-Asia Pacific region,” said Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific said in the Thursday statement.
“By forward-basing the F-35, the most advanced aircraft in the world, here in the Pacific, we are enabling the Marine Corps to respond quickly during a crisis in support of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and all our regional partners.”