November 24, 2008 (by SSgt. Jason Colbert) - Wolf Pack aircrews regularly train alongside their Korean counterparts at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea; the partnership is a two-way one as Airmen also fly training sorties out of Republic of Korea Air Force bases.
USAF F-16C block 40 #90-0733 from the 80th FS flies in formation with two RoKAF's F-16C block 52s (#93-4055 & #93-4057) from the 159 FS while participating in the Buddy Wing program at Jungwon AB on November 20th, 2008. [USAF photo by SSgt. Jason Colbert]
Pilots and maintainers from the 80th Fighter Squadron and 80th Aircraft Maintenance Unit recently conducted such a training exercise during a 2-day "Buddy Wing" trip to Jungwon Air Base.
"This is a great opportunity for the U.S. Air Force and the RoKAF
to continue to build to the friendship and relation we have" said Capt. Matthew Eldredge, an F-16 pilot with the 80th FS
The 80th FS pilots flew multiple sorties with the ROKAF's 159th Fighter Squadron. Flying both attack and defensive sorties, the Kunsan Airmen were able to see firsthand the capabilities of their Korean counterparts. After each sortie, Captain Eldredge and 1st Lt. Matt Crabb, also a pilot with the 80th FS, gave classroom lessons on what they saw, what can be improved and new techniques the U.S. Air Force has developed.
"Training them makes them a more lethal ally," said Captain Eldredge." So if we were to go to war, they would be able to understand exactly what our tactics are as we execute them. We are learning a lot from our ROKAF brethren and they are learning a lot from us as well."
The pilots were not the only ones who learned a few lessons while at Jongwon.
"We set up in an environment where we don't bring a whole lot of equipment and we don't really know what we are going to." said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Feckner, maintenance superintendant with the 80th AMU. "We try to get a feel for what kinds of equipment (the Koreans) have available for us and if it's suitable for our use.
"I think the aircraft maintenance guys and the 8th Fighter Wing as a whole can learn a lot from doing this and wish they would do it more often."
Twenty Kunsan Airmen and two F-16 Fighting Falcons went to Jongwan Air Base for the quarterly training mission. The Buddy Wing program is participated in by every U.S. Air Force base on the Korean peninsula, helping ensure that U.S. Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Forces can function together smoothly and complete the missions before them.