ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam: Twenty-one aircraft from more than a six military units throughout the Pacific region arrived here for Cope North 10-1, a two-week annual bilateral exercise between U.S. forces and the Japan Air Self Defense Force that began Feb. 7.

This is the 11th time Cope North has been held here. U.S. and Japan officials have been conducting Cope North exercises since 1978.

About 24 aircraft will be working with two B-52 Stratofortresses, currently deployed here supporting the continuous bomber presence mission.

“Conducting joint bilateral flying operations allows us to practice all facets of mission planning and execution,” said Maj. Marcelo Morales, a member of the Cope North 10-1 staff. “We are able to train to each service’s strength and to discover and overcome any shortfalls. Our maintainers, operators, and support personnel are able to interact face-to-face so that we can enhance our interoperability and learn from our bilateral partners.”

Cope North is designed to strengthen military relationships between the two countries as well as enhance U.S. and Japanese air operations in defense of Japan.

“Exercises such as Cope North demonstrate our firm resolve to the U.S. – Japan alliance and send an unequivocal message that both nations are committed to continued peace and stability in the region,” Major Morales said.