F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Fighting Samurai departs to ROK

May 6, 2010 (by 35 FW/PA) - The pilots and maintainers of the 14th Fighter Squadron and the 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit deployed to the Republic of Korea this week.

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Lt. Col. Aaron Steffens, 14th FS commander, talks over the radio with his crew chief during the pre-flight inspection on May 7th, 2010. The 14th FS deployed to the Republic of Korea in an effort to maintain stability in the Asian-Pacific region. [USAF photo by SSgt. Chad C. Strohmeyer]

Airmen of the 14th FS combined with support from the 35th Maintenance Group deployed in an effort to maintain regional stability in the Asia-Pacific theater and promote stronger relations with U.S. allies.

"We are always trained, equipped and ready to employ airpower and to execute our mission regardless of the theater or location," said Lt. Col. Aaron Steffens, 14th FS commander. "Like any deployment, this one offers a unique set of challenges; our Airmen are versatile and innovative, though, and we look forward to the opportunity to train as Wild Weasels while working closely with our U.S. Forces in Korea and Republic of Korea Air Force counterparts. Our relationship with the RoKAF is important, and we are excited about further strengthening that alliance."

Even though the deployment is not far from Misawa, the sacrifices and demands placed on the Samurai Airmen and their families are no less, added Colonel Steffens.

"Being separated from families is never easy, and our Airmen and their loved ones have sacrificed a great deal already in order to ensure the success of the 35th Fighter Wing mission," said Colonel Steffens. "But we have a phenomenal family support network within our squadrons and across Misawa at large. Ensuring your spouse and children have that support in place is a critical piece of any deployment, and we are thankful for all the help we've received from this base."

Although Colonel Steffens joined the 14th FS just last month, he is proud to be part of a standing tradition of excellence.

"This is a world-class team; from our sortie generation Airmen to our back shop personnel to the pilots who fly the machines, I am impressed everyday with the excellence I see," said Colonel Steffens. "This deployment is a terrific opportunity to test our mettle as we generate airpower and execute our Wild Weasel mission abroad. The Samurai will strive to excel in Korea just as we have done at Misawa."


Courtesy of 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs



Additional images:

14th FS based at Misawa AB, Japan [Jon Somerville collection]