by Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel
7th Air Force Public Affairs
3/10/2015 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Attacks,
counter-attacks, bombs, rescues, evacuations and logistics are all
elements of conflict, which is prepared for and fought all over the
For the participants of Key Resolve 2015, these actions and other
important elements of combat come through a buzzing hard drive rather
than from a physical foe.
The Republic of Korea Air Force Simulation Center is set up with several
components that make up the exercise and make sure it runs smoothly and
realistically to accomplish training objectives.
"Our job is to make this training opportunity as realistic as it can
possibly be without setting out an exact scenario to follow," said Barry
Barksdale, the senior air controller managing simulation operations.
To achieve this level of realism, opposition forces are given the freedom to develop the scenario as the exercise progresses.
"Our OPFORs get a vote," Barksdale said. "The ROKAF-U.S. forces may
react to one inject, and the OPFOR can go another direction just to help
produce realistic results."
Overall, the retired brigadier general maintains "the God's eye" over
the exercise, yet he relies on hundreds of people across the country to
apply their subject-matter expertise for various aspects of a conflict.
He said the combined experience and overall excellence of the
participants from all services and countries makes KR15 the most
valuable exercise to train combined forces.
Most participants are at KR15 for the first time, which U.S. Air Force
Maj. Leo Daub, KR15 wing operations center chief, described as a
challenge, but one his people can overcome with their ingenuity.
"People come from all over the world to make this operation a success,"
the Illinois Air National Guardsman said. "They are put into positions
they may not feel comfortable [in], but I try to follow the advice of
General Patton, 'Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to
do and let them surprise you with their results.'"
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jake Lacefield is one of those service members.
"Trying to figure out new things in such a short time is a huge
challenge," the Indianapolis native said. "My career field doesn't have a
direct correlation to what's going on here, so being able to adapt to
new skill sets has been quite rewarding."
Traveling to the exercise from the 50th Contracting Squadron at
Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Lacefield said overcoming cultural
differences and strengthening partnerships is also a huge reward.
"We are all different, but all have similarities," he said. "We are all
military centric and want to do what's necessary to complete the
mission. In addition, bridging the gap between Guard, Reserve and
active-duty service members produces a dynamic working environment."
Lacefield's Korean counterpart shared similar views on the exercise and expressed readiness as the key takeaway.
"Without practice, we would surely fail in a real-world situation," said
ROKAF Capt. Shin, Bok-Young. "It's good to work together to learn to
communicate and take lessons from each other, improving the mission on
both sides of the table."
Key Resolve is an annual combined and joint command post exercise that
employs U.S. military personnel from bases around the Republic of Korea
and the United States, as well as the ROK air force. The exercise is
mostly computer based.