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​Twelve KC-135 Stratotankers from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron taxi onto the runway during the Forceful Tiger exercise on Kadena AB, Japan, April 1, 2015. Air Force photo by SSgt. Marcus Morris.

Exercise Forceful Tiger flexed the Air Force's ability to defend Okinawa, Japan, from air attack, last week. Eleven KC-135 tankers staged from Kadena AB, Japan, supporting 24 F-15Cs and eight F-16s during the large force employment exercise off Okinawa, April 1. "That refueling allowed us to push this exercise to four hours," Lt. Col. Jack Flynt, commander of Kadena's 909th Air Refueling Squadron, said in a release. "This was one of the largest exercises we have ever had just because of the amount of air refueling tanker play that we put forward," he added. An E-3 AWACs coordinated "blue" forces while an RC-135 and ground-based radar directed red-air aggressors. HH-60G helicopters and MC-130P rescue tankers provided personnel recovery. Wisconsin Air National Guard F-16s, which deployed as a theater security package to Kadena, also participated in Forceful Tiger along with some 50 aircraft, according to officials.