by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
11/25/2014 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- From
dawn to dusk and late into the night hours, the roaring sounds of
fighter aircraft filled the skies of the Korean Peninsula, Nov. 14 to
To sustain the largest flying exercise on the Korean Peninsula, Kunsan
AB adapted to meet the needs of multiple units who joined the Wolf Pack
from across the Pacific. As sorties were generated between five
different services using eight different airframes, the 8th Fighter Wing
proved its ability to rapidly establish mission capability and unity of
command in Exercise Max Thunder 14-2.
"For Max Thunder, my flight is the cornerstone of the tenet 'Accept
Follow-on Forces,'" said Capt. Melissa Jamison, 8th Force Support
Squadron sustainment services flight commander. "We worked tirelessly to
receive follow-on forces, provided them a place to rest and fed them in
order to keep their mission contributions in all capacities at the
highest effective rate."
A semi-annual joint training exercise, Max Thunder 14-2 brought more
than 1,000 personnel from various ROK Air Force units, the U.S. Army,
Marine Corps and Navy to Kunsan AB.
Despite these figures, Kunsan maintained the capacity to host and
sustain additional units with various bed-down requirements, whilst
simultaneously conducting rigorous flying missions.
"We double-billeted nearly all of our rooms in the Wolf Pack Lodge,"
Jamison said. "We are the only lodging facility in the Air Force that
has two beds in standard rooms, as our lodging function was built with
contingency support in mind. In addition to the extended lodging
capacity, we were very grateful to have the participating sister
services bring cooks to bolster our kitchen operations. We had a total
of seven cooks from the Marines and the Navy. It was a very special
experience to look into the O'Malley Dining Facility and see the blend
of uniforms working together seamlessly. It was the very definition of a
For Master Sgt. Justin McDonald, 8th FSS customer support
superintendent, his role in contingency operations is the facilitator
and NCO in charge of the personnel processing unit.
McDonald said his role in Max Thunder and similar exercises encompasses total force accountability.
"We are just one piece in the process, but we work with more than seven
agencies to take care of everything from 'cradle to grave,'" he said.
From 8th FW Safety, to the Office of Special Investigations, and public
health - nearly every agency within the Wolf Pack played a role in
supporting additional units to ensure the success of the joint
large-force employment training.
"My role as a logistics planner is to organize the incoming forces of
Marines and Sailors," said Senior Airman Sarah McDermott, 8th Logistics
Readiness Squadron logistics planner. "This includes in-processing,
receiving their cargo, lodging and transportation - so we made sure to
get in contact with the necessary areas of the base; even down to making
sure a bus is ready to pick them up as soon as they step off that
Other agencies played a crucial role to ensure the efficient allocation of various aircraft and their crewmembers.
"There were over 80 aircraft that participated in Max Thunder with an
additional 22 support aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Shateenie Stokes, 8th
Operations Support Squadron deputy airfield manager. "It was our
responsibility to guarantee adequate parking for the aircraft and a
facility for all maintenance personnel, as well as ensuring smooth
arrival and departures for all aircraft."
Kunsan AB is the only air base in the ROK where U.S. and ROKAF flying
units reside together, a trait that makes it ideal for an exercise like
Max Thunder. This partnership enables the U.S. to practice sharpening
their skills with their ROKAF allies not only for exercises, but on a
daily basis as well.
"We train together so the integration of troops is seamless during
actual combat," said 1st Lt. Kyle Deroner, 8th FSS readiness and plans
chief. "At the end of the day, it's one team, one fight, and we all need
to work together to accomplish the main objective."