Kadena Airmen in full force at Cope Tiger 15

  • Published
  • By Capt. George Tobias
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
Airmen from Kadena Air Base were out in full force at exercise Cope Tiger 15 (CT15) held in Thailand, March 9-20.

Airmen with the 44th Fighter Squadron, the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron and the 909th Air Refueling Squadron brought F-15 Eagles, an E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and a KC-135 Stratotanker in support of CT15.

This year's exercise marks the first time in six years an E-3 from Kadena AB was part of the annual multilateral exercise between the U.S. Air Force, the Royal Thai air force and the Republic of Singapore air force.

"Cope Tiger brings all three air forces together, so we can become interoperable," said Col. Paul Johnson, the exercise director for the U.S. Air Force.

According to Johnson, the humanitarian disaster relief applications of this year's exercise were integral to its execution.

"If we need to (aid) of any of our Southeast Asian partners with the assistance of the Thais and the Singaporeans, we are just that much better off to get the job done, because we know our strengths and weaknesses through the exercise we have done here at Cope Tiger," he said.

With a focus on multinational interoperability and regional partnerships, CT15 is aimed at increasing readiness, cooperation and interoperability among security forces, contributing to maritime security, counterterrorism, search and rescue and humanitarian disaster relief efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The important thing for these exercises is really learning the different cultural ways of going about the business of air power," said Lt. Col. Frederick Coleman, the commander of the 961st AACS. "When we train with the Thais and we train with the Singaporean air forces, we are learning from each other, both linguistically and tacitly."

As Coleman explained, reacting to a real world event is, "not the time to be learning our language differences, our cultural differences and our tactical differences. We need to learn those differences now."

For all the Airmen taking part in the exercise, Johnson said he hopes they will take away the aspects of coming to Thailand and working with their Thai and Singaporean counterparts.

"I hope they are able to take away the expeditionary aspect of coming to a foreign base, operating somewhere where you don't have all the comforts of home, especially all the spare parts -- mom and dad, or wife and kids back at home," he said.

He added that he also hopes that these Airmen will be able to learn from this experience, learn the limiting factors of working far from home and, "build upon their strengths, so when they come to do it for real in the future, they are just that much better off for it."