US, South Korean forces integrate at Daegu for Buddy Wing training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dillian Bamman
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Fighter squadrons across the Korean Peninsula routinely participate in Buddy Wings to enhance the interoperability of U.S. and South Korean air forces.

For Buddy Wing 16-7, F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots from the 36th Fighter Squadron traveled to Daegu Air Base to train with F-15K Slam Eagle pilots of the South Korean’s 11th Fighter Wing from Aug. 8-12.

“It was a great opportunity to practice combined training with the 36th Fighter Squadron,” said South Korean Capt. Chon Hun Min, a 11th FW F-15K pilot. “It was also a great experience to be able to train between the F-15K and F-16 heterogeneously.”

The Buddy Wing exercise provided an opportunity to bring different cultures together to practice the planning and execution of flying training missions.

“There were some differences in the capabilities of the F-15s and F-16s that we had to work through, because we tactically employ our weapon systems differently,” said Capt. Ryan Pebler, a 36th FS pilot. “Figuring out the differences there and how we can operate together is one thing we really honed in on.”

Now that the pilots of Buddy Wing 16-7 have integrated, formed bonds and evolved throughout the exercise, they look to the future for Red Flag-Alaska.

Red Flag is a Pacific Air Forces exercise that provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment.

“Flying with them and getting to know them on a personal level and a tactical level will definitely help us integrate more as we get down there,” Pebler said. “We know them by name now, and we can work together without the bubble we might’ve had before. I definitely think that will help us be successful at Red Flag.”