Hawaii Air National Guard F-22s, KC-135, And C-17 Do The “Elephant Walk” In Honolulu

Behold an amazing display of the Hawaii Air National Guard’s resident airpower.

byTyler Rogoway|
U.S. Homeland photo


The 154th Wing based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam put on one heck of a display of organic airpower on April 21st, 2020. Eight F-22A Raptors from the 199th Fighter Squadron, a C-17A from the 204th Airlift Squadron, and a KC-135R from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, all resident units, executed a stunning 'elephant walk' on one of the runways at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). 

Aviation photographer and Instagrammer Chris Amendola was there to capture the unique event.

Chris Amendola

Chris filled us in on how he snapped the killer images of Hawaiian airpower at the state's largest and busiest airport:

So I'm a civilian worker at the airport, I work for Ramp Control and have total access to the airfield. I love planes and love taking pics and videos of them.

I was out waiting to take some pics and talked to Hickam Airfield Management prior to the planes' arrival, joking about getting some pics from the stairs they were using on the RWY. Well, he called 'no joy' on that, which was fine, but when he saw me standing on the back of my pickup truck trying to get shots he called me over and said run up and get a few pics as long as I don't get in the way. 

I'm very used to taking pics on the fly and under pressure, so I ran up snapped off a few pics and here we are!

Fantastic shots indeed, and there's video too!

Video thumbnail
Video thumbnail

The sprawling air base at Joint Base Peral Harbor-Hickam, which shares the runways with the international airport, is becoming increasingly critical to America's strategic posture in the ever-more important Pacific Theater. It is far enough away from America's potential foes and foes alike that it would be an essential staging ground in any crisis. B-2 Spirits have deployed there recently instead of their usual forward staging base on the island of Guam. Now that the continuous bomber presence on that island has officially ended, Hickam will likely see much more sporadic bomber action. 

The combination of F-22s, C-17s, and KC-135s gives the Hawaii Air National Guard amazing organic power projection capabilities of its own, as well as being able to support normal peacetime logistical operations and the air sovereignty mission, the latter of which is focused on protecting the island itself. It is truly a unique and highly capable unit within the Air Force's portfolio. 

A big thanks to Chris Amendola for sharing his images with us and make sure you follow him by his handle @HNLramper over on Instagram.

Contact the author: tyler@thedrive.com