F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons of the 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea; the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron of the 388th FW at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; the 55th EFS from the 20th FW at Shaw AFB, S.C.; and from the 38th Fighter Group of the ROK Air Force, demonstrate an “Elephant Walk” as they taxi down a runway during an exercise at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, March 2, 2012. The exercise showcased Kunsan AB aircrews' capability to quickly and safely prepare an aircraft for a wartime mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany Y. Auld/Released)
A formation of F-16 Fighting Falcons progresses down the flight line at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, March 2, 2012, in a show of power called an “Elephant Walk.” The highly-maneuverable F-16s can reach a speed of 1,500 mph and are used for air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brigitte N. Brantley/Released)
by Senior Airman Jessica Hines
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
3/6/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- (AFNS) -- Not even the sun had a chance to rise before Airmen here began their work during a combined combat generation exercise, March 2, between United States and Republic of Korea air forces.
"The purpose of the exercise today is to test the ability of our team to execute our combat mission at a moment's notice," said Col. Craig Leavitt, 8th Operations Group commander.
"This shows the resolve that we have as a team, the United States and the Republic of Korea forces, to defend the Republic of Korea at any time," he added.
From start to finish, aircraft were generated as they would be for wartime operations. The exercise helps Airmen practice how several pieces of a much larger puzzle are brought together in one swift motion, representing a cycle of events paramount to the overall defense of the region.
Describing it as a "bilateral event," Col. Stephen Williams, 8th Fighter Wing vice commander, noted the long hours spent behind the scenes that produced the combat air power seen between the five units. In all, the exercise included aircraft from the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons from the 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, ROK; the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from the 388th FW at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; the 55th EFS from the 20th FW at Shaw AFB, S.C.; and the 38th Fighter Group of the ROK Air Force.
"Airmen from all the groups are participating - the entire Wolf Pack - and they don't always get to see the tail end of this," said Williams.
A befitting finale, the "tail end" event was ushered in by the roaring sound of fighter jets as they glided down the runway as a combat-ready procession.
This isn't the first time the Wolf Pack has exercised full combat generation, and certainly isn't the last, but working with host country air power defenses has brought a more personal association to the importance of the exercise.
"This is their [Koreans] homeland," said Williams, reminding Airmen that the Wolf Pack is part of a vested interest in defending the Republic of Korea from enemy forces.
"The more we work together, the better we'll be if called upon to take the fight north," said Williams.