May 24, 2010 (by SrA Roy Lynch) - The 8th Fighter Wing tested its flying and maintenance operations during surge operations on May 17.
USAF F-16C block 40 #89-2064 from the 35th FS lands at Kunsan AB on March 16th, 2010. The 8th Fighter Wing tested its flying and maintenance operations during surge operations on May 17th. [USAF photo by SSgt. Darnell Cannady]
Pilots from the 35th FS, "Panton"
, 80th FS "Juvats
along with the 14th EFS "Samurais"
, deployed from Misawa AB, Japan, flew together generating 147 sorties in this one day surge operation.
"It was a great effort to see how much combat airpower we could generate in a 14-hour period, said Col. Rob P. Givens, 8th Fighter Wing commander. "We chose to only fly from sunrise to sunset to keep disruption to the local community at a minimum. Everyone from the Wolf Pack was involved in making this happen; even I got to fly three times. This wing is ready for anything we might be called to do."
The purpose of the surge operation was to test the skills and wartime capabilities of the operators, maintainers and supporting agencies of the Wolf Pack over a two-day window and to simulate pilots' wartime flying rates. A successfully generated flight is considered to be a single sortie. However, due to weather conditions the scheduled was reduced to only one day.
"Having an aircraft surge helps operators and maintainers prepare for war," said Lt. Col. Greg Hutson, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. "It helps pilots, maintainers and supporting agencies understand the stress placed on the system so they can take the necessary corrective actions."
A surge is held once a quarter with maintainers going on 12-hour shifts to ensure the heavy demands of flying and fixing aircraft are met.
"The Wolf Pack is renowned for meeting their flying hour program and doing well on their maintenance performance indicators," said Colonel Hutson. "The combination of these two--trained pilots and mission ready aircraft--provided unrivaled airpower for the [Wolf Pack] and the United States Air Force."
The surge served many purpose towards keeping the wing mission-ready. Not only is it a test to see how many sorties could be produced, but also a learning tool for maintainers as well. It also greatly aided the execution of wing's flying hour program.
"The surge is an exercise to help boost our sortie count," said Colonel Hutson. "There was an alternative objective of having the best surge the Wolf Pack has ever seen. We did have the impact that we expected."
The past three weeks have been busy and challenging for everyone at the Wolf Pack. There have been a no-notice generation exercise, operational readiness exercise, arrival and departure of follow-on forces, and a Red Flag-Alaska deployment, just to name a few. But, wing members showed great determination and through their hard work completed the objectives of the surge successfully.
"When we say "fit to fight," we're not kidding," said Colonel Hutson. "To withstand the last three weeks and then come back into 12-hour shifts takes a great deal of endurance and tenacity. Thankfully, our Airmen were up to the challenge."