HomeNewsArticle Display

Airmen test combat search, rescue skills during Pacific Thunder

exercise photo

Members of the 33rd and 31st Rescue Squadrons from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for a combat search and rescue mission during Exercise Pacific Thunder 18-1 at Osan AB, South Korea, Oct. 23, 2017. This year’s exercise is the largest Pacific Thunder hosted at Osan AB with more than 20 U.S. squadrons and nine South Korean air force wings participating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

exercise photo

Members of the 33rd and 31st Rescue Squadrons from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for a combat search and rescue mission during Exercise Pacific Thunder 18-1 at Osan AB, South Korea, Oct. 23, 2017. Exercise Pacific Thunder provides both U.S. and South Korean air forces opportunities to train in simulated combat search and rescue missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

exercise photo

Members of the 33rd and 31st Rescue Squadrons from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for a combat search and rescue mission during Exercise Pacific Thunder 18-1 at Osan AB, South Korea, Oct. 23, 2017. This year’s exercise is the largest Pacific Thunder hosted at Osan AB with more than 20 U.S. squadrons and nine South Korean wings participating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- One of the largest joint combat search and rescue exercises in the Pacific region, Pacific Thunder 18-1, kicked into full swing at Osan Air Base, South Korea, Oct. 23, 2017.

With more than 20 U.S. squadrons and nine South Korean air force wings involved, this year’s exercise is the largest to date. Pacific Thunder provides the 25th Fighter Squadron and the 33rd and 31st Rescue Squadrons opportunities to train in simulated combat search and rescue missions all while working alongside their South Korean counterparts.

“Pacific Thunder originally started in 2009 as a one week exercise between the 25th Fighter Squadron and the 33rd Rescue Squadron and has since grown into a (Pacific Air Forces) level exercise,” said Capt. Travis Vayda, 25th FS Pacific Thunder 18-1 coordinator.

Although the annual exercise features a range of units participating, it is still centered on the 25th FS and 33rd RQS.

“Combat search and rescue is one of the most important mission sets we have in the A-10 community because we are really the only fixed wing asset in the Air Force who trains to the CSAR mission,” Vayda said. “We are the close muscle, so essentially we are the body guards of the person on the ground and the helicopters that are rescuing them. Obviously in a CSAR, you don’t want to have another type of shoot down or anything happen.”

During the exercise, the 33rd RQS is able to directly work with A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots from the 25th FS, a conjoined training that both units typically have to simulate.

“The realism of the exercise gives us an opportunity to really see how the 25th FS operates,” said Capt. Dirk Strykowski, 33rd RQS HH-60 Pave Hawk flight lead. “Back in Kadena (Air Base, Japan), we pretend as best we can to know what these guys are going to sound like on the radio, what calls they’re going to make and what kind of information they are going to provide, but being able to come up here and refresh what that’s actually going to be like is probably the biggest take away from the exercise.”

Pararescuemen and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists from the 31st RQS provide more realism by acting as isolated personnel.

“The intent of this exercise is to train like you fight, and we are trying to replicate that as best we can,” Strykowski said. “We have a lot of support from our pararescue and SERE. They’re out there on the ground now pretending to be downed pilots. So every step of the way, we are making it as realistic as it can get.”

Through combined CSAR training, Pacific Thunder enhances the combat effectiveness between U.S. and South Korean air forces. Exercises like Pacific Thunder highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between U.S. and South Korean forces, helping to ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, and reaffirms the U.S. commitment to stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
To all those who helped establish the long blue line past, present and future, we honor you and we remember with th… https://t.co/teymF7proy
#ASC19: "We’re all in this together trying to make your service to country the best experience on the planet. We w… https://t.co/rdbCDBJr2c
#VCSAF Gen. Stephen Wilson speaks on what makes the #AirForce unique. #ASC19 https://t.co/gStwUZoaQC
RT @AFSpace: @AstroHague takes #aimhigh to the extreme by celebrating the @usairforce's birthday from the @Space_Station! #FrontiersofBlue
RT @VP: Happy 72nd birthday to the @usairforce! On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to the amazing men and women of the Air Force for…
#ASC19: There's a challenge to maintain warfighting capabilities until new bombers and missiles arrive. Hear more f… https://t.co/SWB3VjNod8
#ASC19: Want to know which three acquisition trends #AirForce acquisition experts believe should "go viral?" Click… https://t.co/hsiH3oQXOX
RT @NSAGov: Happy Birthday to the @usairforce! For 72 years you've taught us to aim high. We look forward to continuing to fly, fight, and…
RT @AFGlobalStrike: The Air Force is celebrating 72 years of service, so here is 72 seconds of Global Strike Command! #USAFBday #ThisIs72 h…
Moments like this one between @GenDaveGoldfein and retired Col. Charles McGee remind us of where we've been as we f… https://t.co/LlhJhfdHQb
ICYMI: @ActingSecAF Matthew Donovan announced Sept. 16 at #ASC19 that the B-21 Raider is being produced in Northrop… https://t.co/XTsOnLwrTw
ICYMI: @ActingSecAF Matthew P. Donovan announced on Sept. 16 at #ASC19 that the Air Force’s all-new advanced traine… https://t.co/9MULuV7vFN
RT @USNavy: To be young again... #HappyBirthday, @usairforce! Congrats on 72 years playing a key role in the National Defense Strategy. He…
RT @USArmy: Join us in wishing the @usairforce a #happybirthday! They may have separated from the Army in 1947, but they have been trail br…
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks @EsperDoD for speaking at @AirForceAssoc #ASC19 & chatting with our exceptional #Airmen who are dedicated to sharpe…
.@CMSAF18: Be a good human being... https://t.co/mxT3sLg4fp
.@CMSAF18: The RTP was a call to action for all of us to be leaders of conviction. Provide Airmen hope. Provide the… https://t.co/FEdmldGHXj
.@CMSAF18: Persistence, passion, perseverance. Being an #Airmen is tough. We must have grit in us. We can't quit wh… https://t.co/iPj3wRx0fl
.@CMSAF18: Lead with conviction, stand up for what you believe in.