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Mon, Feb 13, 2006

Cope Tiger ’06 Draws A-10 Thunder

Cope Tiger ‘06, an annual multi-lateral exercise involving the U.S., Thailand and Singapore, began Feb. 7.

More than 1,300 people, including 300 U.S. servicemembers and 1,000 servicemembers from Thailand and Singapore, are participating in the exercise that involves aviation and ground units. The exercise is designed to hone flying skills and foster international cooperation among the three countries.

A-10 Thunderbolt II operators and maintainers from Osan Air Base, South Korea, have deployed for the exercise.

“For a unit that doesn’t normally deploy (this) is a great opportunity,” said Lt. Col. Scott Caine, 25th Fighter Squadron commander. “The whole team has taken this mission and made it run as smooth as possible. I couldn’t be happier with that.”

Colonel Caine said the operations and maintenance relationship is strong among the A-10 unit.

“It’s nice to see the 51st Fighter Wing grow through this deployment by making this mission happen,” he said.

“It’s nothing short of exceptional.”

Some of the biggest lessons A-10 maintainers are learning are from each other, said Master Sgt. Norman Barrett, a production superintendent with the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

“When a jet breaks, it’s great to see people step up and be ready to lend a hand. There are back shop guys here that some of the maintainers have never met, so this deployment is helping out flightline workers learn some additional depth,” Sergeant Barrett said.

Col. Jeffery LeVault, exercise director for U.S. forces in Cope Tiger, said A-10 pilots will see some different range space, employ weapons and have the opportunity to be part of a larger air group during Cope Tiger.

Cope Tiger provides air-to-air, air-to-ground and large force employment training for crews in a multi-national environment while expanding the capabilities and readiness of U.S. and allied forces, officials said.

The exercise, held annually since 1994, runs through Feb. 18. [ANN Salutes Master Sgt. Adam Johnston, Cope Tiger '06 Public Affairs]



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