WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Barnes Air National Guard base has begun deploying crews to Malaysia for a three week multinational exercise called COPE TAUFAN. Senior Master Sgt. Robert Sabonis made the announcement Monday explaining that a number of F-15C/D aircraft along with over 100 members of the 104th Fighter Wing have been deploying to Malaysia since Saturday.
“The 104th Fighter Wing’s involvement in this exercise speaks volumes to the relevance of this unit in the global theater,” said Col James J. Keefe, Wing Commander. “We were asked to participate in this exercise because of our proficiency with Advance Fighter Integration”.
During this exercise, American fighter aircraft will fly dissimilar aircraft training with Royal Malaysian Air Force MiG-29 and SU-27 aircraft. “These exercises both build relationships with one of our strategic partners but also aids in developing tactics for F-15 and F-22 integration in the Pacific Theater of Operations,” adds Keefe.
This is the furthest west the 104th has traveled for a training exercise.
Back in March, National Guard members from Barnes participated in training at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The goal is to demonstrate the ability to cover contingencies to the East as well as to the West.