As part of the “all options on the table” approach, the U.S. Marines’ F-35 squadron in Japan is training to fight under dangerous conditions created by chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks, American Military News reports. In short, the Marine squadron is preparing for nuclear war.
The training began in mid-November with US Marine Corps pilots and support crew executing “hot refueling,” a method in which the F-35’s engine remains running while it takes on more gas. It’s an exercise that allows the F-35 to take off at a moment’s notice and one that was devised specifically for fighting in the Pacific.
The Marines also wore level four Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear during training, the highest grade of protective gear available to them. The gear is meant to protect them when the atmosphere becomes hazardous due to nuclear or biological war.
“It’s important to practice in MOPP gear because the Marines don’t get many opportunities to wear this on a daily basis, so in the instance where they do have to wear MOPP gear in a real-life scenario, it’s not going to be a shock or surprise to them of how they are going to operate,” Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Martin Aldrete, a maintenance controller with VMFA-121, said.
This isn’t the first time that the United States has trained for confrontation with North Korea. In October 2016, a Vermont Air National Guard pilot detailed his experience flying a simulated F-35 strike mission against North Korea. A citizen in Missouri also once intercepted U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bombers communicating over radio and discussing a training mission.
Should war with North Korea break out, it’s likely that Pyongyang’s first military act would include nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon attacks on U.S. bases in Japan.