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Mighty Shrikes end exercise Habu Fire II

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KADENA AIR BASE OKINAWA, Japan — Navy personnel of Strike Fighter Squadron 94 completed their portion of exercise Habu Fire II here Sept. 9.

Habu Fire II was a joint-training exercise where squadrons worked together to perform and improve efficiency in air-to-air operations. Participating squadrons included VFA-94, Marine All- Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 214 and 18th Fighter Wing.

The month-long training exercise allowed the squadron to learn a different way of completing their mission.

“It gives us a chance to get exposed to the way (other squadrons) do business,” said Senior Chief Jose E. Lumanlan, VFA-94 acting senior enlisted advisor for Habu Fire II.

Throughout this training, VFA-94 personnel were able to understand how their unit worked with other units.

The squadron also learned how to perform and overcome difficulties of operating in different locations.

“We adapt well to being in new places,” said Petty Officer 2 Class Derek Stevens, VFA-94 aviation structural mechanic (safety equipment). “We try and work like we are at home, like we didn’t even leave.”

Throughout this training, VFA- 94 conducted air-to-air operations with other squadrons as well as launched, landed, directed and fixed aircraft on a day-to-day basis.

“We are the eyes and ears on the ground,” said Navy airman Anthony R. Moreno, VFA-94 aviation electricians mate. “We are the last to see the aircraft before a launch and the first to see it land.”

The landing and launching of birds was an important part of the exercise because without those airmen directing the aircraft, there would be several obstacles.

“We avoid complications at all costs,” said Moreno. “Sometimes we can’t help them when a bird goes down right before a flight and we have to prep a different bird in a short amount of time so the flight can still take place. It isn’t always easy but we do what we have to do to get stuff done.”

With all the training that was performed while participating in exercise Habu Fire II, VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes did what they needed to do and performed their jobs to the best of their abilities to ensure their mission was a success.

Article by Lance Cpl. Cayce Nevers, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni