An F-117 Nighthawk taxies down the runway after landing Jan. 11 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. A squadron of F-117s, together with 300 Airmen, have deployed here in support of a continuing force posture adjustment throughout the Pacific. The aircraft, assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, is part of the third squadron of Kunsan AB's host unit, the 8th Fighter Wing, during the deployment's duration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Darnell Cannady)
Senior Airman Jason Stanfield ushers in an F-117 Nighthawk after its arrival Jan. 11 to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The aircraft, together with 300 Airmen, deployed here from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., as part of a routine Air Expeditionary Force rotation. The aircraft, assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, is part of the third squadron of Kunsan AB's host unit, the 8th Fighter Wing, during the deployment's duration. Airman Stanfield is an F-117 crew chief. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Darnell Cannady)
Col. Jeff Lofgren (right) greets Maj. Ronald Keller after landing Jan. 11 at Kunsan Air Base, Korea. Major Keller, an F-117 Nighthawk pilot, is part of a more than 300-person deployment to Kunsan from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, the Holloman AFB Airmen are fulfilling an Air Expeditionary Force rotation to the Republic of Korea. The AEF deployment, according to Kunsan AB officials, "demonstrates the continued U.S. commitment to fulfill its security responsibilities throughout the Western Pacific." Colonel Lofgren is the 8th Fighter Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephen Collier)
by Senior Airman Stephen Collier
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/11/2007 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNEWS) -- Nearly 300 Airmen from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and several F-117 Nighthawks arrived at Kunsan AB in January to fulfill U.S. security responsibilities in the Western Pacific.
The deployment brings 49th Fighter Wing pilots, maintainers and support Airmen from Holloman AFB to Kunsan AB for the fourth time since their first Air Expeditionary Force tour here in 2003.
Airmen supporting the F-117, assigned to the newly designated 9th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, become the third flying squadron under command of the 8th Fighter Wing. As with any unit that comes under command of the 8th FW, they also become members of the Wolf Pack family, a fact that Col. Jeff Lofgren, the wing commander, said he hasn't forgotten.
"The professionals of the 9th EFS are now part of the Wolf Pack Team," Colonel Lofgren said. "We have executed the second part of our mission: Accept follow-on forces. Soon we will train for the last part of our mission to 'Take the fight north' as the 9th EFS joins us in the upcoming exercise and daily training."
Maj. Robin McKinley, 8th Mission Support Squadron commander, said Airmen under her command train to accept follow-on forces constantly.
"It gives me great pride to watch the MSS Warriors fulfilling the mission," Major McKinley said. "They work hard every day to take care of Wolf Pack Airmen, and this is just another example of that. (This deployment) allows my Airmen to actually do this piece of the mission and not just talk about it."
The Holloman AFB Airmen, who are based out of a high-desert climate, typically don't encounter low temperatures, high winds or unexpected climate changes as well as F-16 Fighting Falcons flying day and night mission sorties that are based at Kunsan AB.
While initial challenges face the deployed Airmen, their mission is as critical as at any other location. As operations commence and F-117s fly side-by-side with their F-16 counterparts, Airmen and aircraft are expected to meld into the mission quickly.
Maj. Ronald Rae, a member of the advance deployment team, said Holloman AFB is well prepared for this deployment.
And the mission doesn't let up. Stealth aircraft and their crews will be challenged with the upcoming Peninsula Combat Employment Readiness Exercise. This quarterly exercise challenges Seventh Air Force assets to come together and practice the overall mission of taking the fight north if hostilities ever took place.