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U.S. airmen in Japan practice for potential conflict

Airmen in Japan practiced surge drills Monday and Tuesday to prepare for a potential future conflict with a near-peaer adversary.

F-16 pilots and aircrew with the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base simulated the high operational tempo that would be needed for a serious combat situation. That meant Each squadron increased its performance from 20 missions a day to 70, according to an the Air Force said in a press release.

"During surge operations, we're validating our wing's ability to generate [aircraft] in a simulated combat scenario," said Capt. Josh Plocinski, the 14th Fighter Squadron chief of standardization and evaluation, in the press release.

That meant airmen started working 12-hour shifts, with sorties beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at midnight, rain or shine, the Air Force said.

"Our timeline is accelerated, so we'll fly with shorter turn times to simulate what we could see in a combat environment," said Master Sgt. Michael Woroniecki, the 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons flight chief.

Senior Airman Kyle Lacy, a crew chief with the 35th Maintenance Squadron, performs a post-flight inspection on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a surge exercise at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Photo Credit: A1C Jordyn Fetter/Air Force

"Surge operations like this test our ability to meet a higher demand operations tempo," he continued.

The service said that exercises like the one at Misawa are held to "sharpen proficiency in aircraft maintenance resiliency and operational agility."

Plocinski said the exercises ensure the wing remains combat ready.

The Pentagon has placed renewed emphasis on airmen being ready for a fight with a near-peear adversary, or with an adversary that who has advanced anti-air capabilities. Tensions in East Asia have risen recently with North Korea performing tests to improve its their nuclear missile infrastructure, and China is staking aits claim to much of the South China Sea.

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