Keeping The North In Line
Members of the 8th Fighter Wing and the Republic of Korea air
force teamed up for a joint training exercise June 8 at Kunsan Air
Two South Korean F-16s from the 111th Fighter Squadron, two F-16
Fighting Falcons from the 35th Fighter Squadron, Airmen of the 35th
Aircraft Maintenance Unit and Airmen from Osan Air Base, South
Korea, participated in air combat tactics to learn how to employ
together as a lethal force.
"We have had social interactions, but this is the first time
since the 111th FS moved here that we have briefed, flown and
debriefed together on a dedicated mission," said Capt. Luther
Cross, a 35th Fighter Wing pilot. "This has given us a better sense
The exercise is part of the joint fighter exchange program
designed to improve interoperability between the US Air Force and
the South Korean fighter squadrons, Captain Cross said.
"The program's focus is to allow the ROKAF and our Air Force's
fighter pilots to exchange ideas, discuss tactics and fly missions
together in a controlled environment," he said.
Captain Jeong-geun Lee, a pilot with the 111th FS, thought the
exercise was an excellent opportunity for the exchange of
"I thought this was a good chance for both of us to develop and
improve overall tactics systems by comparing and analyzing each
other's knowledge," Capt. Jeong-geun Lee said.
Along with exchanging ideas, Captain Cross said the exercise
would also improve the coalitions' capabilities to wage war.
Captain Cross said the joint training is important to Kunsan
AB's three-tiered mission -- defend the base, accept follow-on
forces and take the fight north -- because it will enable forces to
defend the base. The mission for the flights was to defend the
airspace around the base, which encompasses the first two tiers of
the mission. Future missions will highlight the take the fight
north tier of the mission.
"Today's mission is focused on the first part of our three-tier
mission, defend the base," said Colonel CQ Brown, the 8th FW
commander. "Eventually these joint missions will focus more on
'taking the fight north,' our third tier, through large force
Training and flying with South Korea is imperative to increasing
interoperability between the two units and increasing confidence in
each other's aircraft capabilities, pilot abilities and tactics,
Colonel Brown said.
"We will be better prepared as a total force in the event of
hostilities," he said. "The safety of this country and the
stability of the region are enhanced by our presence and ability to
employ as an integrated force. Training together, we can make each
other more combat ready, making all of us here safer."
"This exercise was indeed significant and remarkable, not only
because it is the first joint flight since the 38th Fighter Group's
transition form the F-5 to the F-16s, but also because this was the
first step of further combined operations and partnerships between
the ROKAF and the USAF," Captain Lee said.
"They are true professionals and we are proud to serve together
with them in maintaining peace and stability in the region,"
Colonel Brown said.
The next joint training exercise is scheduled later in June.
(Aero-News salutes Staff Sgt. Alice Moore, 8th Fighter Wing