By Senior Airman Jose Miguel Tamondong 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

KOROR, Palau (U.S. Indo-Pacific Command)– Three F-35A Lightning IIs assigned to the 354th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) deploy to Palau in support of exercise Valiant Shield 2022, June 10.

Operating in the Western Pacific island country of Palau increases the U.S. Joint Forces’ forward presence and its ability to respond immediately to a myriad of contingencies and crises in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We’re here to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region and operating out of Palau makes it possible to accomplish that goal,” said 1st Lt. Joshua “Super” Novick, 356th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-35A Lightning II pilot. “We have a great relationship with Palau so it’s awesome to be able to come here and work with them to build our relationship with one of our allies in the region.”

As a Pacific power and leader, the U.S. Joint Forces have flown, sailed and operated throughout the Indo-Pacific region in accordance with international law for more than 75 years and will continue to do so.

U.S. Joint Forces routinely train across the Indo-Pacific region and demonstrate its capability to project power while simultaneously defending the homeland.

Exercise VS22 provides the opportunity for the 354th AEW’s F-35As to integrate with the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Space Force to conduct precise, lethal and overwhelming multi-axis, multi-domain effects that demonstrate the strength and versatility of the Joint Force.

“It’s always a blast working with the Marines,” said Novick. “It’s great to be able to work together and build those partnerships and be able to work as one cohesive unit because at the end of the day, we’re all part of the same team.”

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