July 6, 2009 (by Lt. Col. Jay Aanrud) - When your nation calls, it means it's time to start charging and that's what the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has done.
USAF F-16C block 50 #92-3913 from the 13th FS is marshalled into its spot by two 13th EFS ground crew members on February 23rd, 2009 at Suwon AB. Approximately 280 Airmen deployed to the RoK as part of a theater security package. [USAF photo by SMSgt. Wayne Cardwell]
The 13th EFS deployed in late February to a base in the Republic of Korea, and has been hitting on all cylinders since. Their AEF
tasking changed drastically in late 2008, but did not slow them down one bit. The tasking went from supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom operations to a theatre security package located at Suwon Air Base, and the changes run even deeper.
The 13th Fighter Squadron merged with members of 35th Maintenance Group to make up the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. This merger brought the squadron's manning up to approximately 280 Airmen.
Since arriving at Suwon, missile launches and a recent nuclear test serve as reminders of the importance of power projection and presence while helping our Korean allies defend their freedom and way of life. The Panthers are honing their skills through training, invaluable experience in this theatre, and will continue to do so for the summer of 2009.
The 13th EFS stands ready, and the combat capability of the World's Greatest Wild Weasels is on hand, ready and willing to face whatever challenge comes their way.
Being deployed to a collocated operating base in Korea presents its own challenges and continues to provide lessons learned for mission operations. As a functioning base, every part of the infrastructure to include communication requirements, force protection and the dining facility needed a lot of adjustment and improvement to keep up with deployed operations. Nevertheless, 48 hours after arriving, the Panthers were producing training sorties.
This deployment serves as more than a training opportunity. It's also an opportunity for the Airmen of the 13EFS to take advantage of working, eating and recreating with joint partners on multiple levels. The RoKAF
flies F-4s and F-5s, and multiple combined hospitality and training events have made this a rewarding experience, helping the Airmen learn how to work with other coalition partners at a training level, paving the way for smooth Combat operations should the need arise.