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“The Air Force's mission hasn't stopped,” Eielson fighter jet pilots continue to train

A F-16 with the 18th Aggressor Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base taxis as it prepares to take off. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)
A F-16 with the 18th Aggressor Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base taxis as it prepares to take off. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)(KTVF)
Published: Apr. 9, 2020 at 3:05 PM AKDT
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As some daily life activities slow down or stop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pilots at Eielson Air Force Base are still training and flying. On Thursday, pilots with the 18th Aggressor Squadron prepared and took off to join pilots from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in the air to train.

The mission of the Aggressors is to know, teach and replicate the threat as they play the ‘bad guys’. They use that knowledge to help train the pilots, including those from JBER.

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Monaco, commander of the 18th Aggressor Squadron, says this is training they would normally be doing in April.

"The Air Force's mission hasn't stopped; our mission to train the pilots down at JBER doesn't stop. It is also important to continue flying these airplanes [because] the more they fly the better they work. It is also important to continue our pilot currencies, [and] it is also good for morale to keep flying. It's what we're trained to do, it's what we practice on a daily basis, and it's something we can hang our hats on as kind of normal despite what's going on in the world," said Monaco.

Monaco says they have fewer people in the squadron at any one time by rotating schedules, but that they are still flying the same number of aircraft they would normally.

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