by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/20/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Most
Airmen arrive at Kunsan Air Base with the expectation of seeing new
faces and forming new relationships at the start of their year-long
unaccompanied tour. But for a father and son of the Colorado Air
National Guard, when they stepped onto the Korean Peninsula, they
continued a family legacy spanning three generations.
Lt. Col. James Reeman, 120th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-16
Fighting Falcon pilot, and his son, Senior Airman Mitchell Jamison,
120th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, are assigned
to the Wolf Pack as part of a rotational Theater Security Package for
approximately three months.
"For this TSP, we are here to support and train with active-duty Airmen,
as part of [Kunsan's] mission to Accept Follow-on Forces," Reeman said.
"Our integration with them and Republic of Korea Air Force Airmen
provides us unique training opportunities while solidifying
relationships with our allies. Deploying to the Asia-Pacific region not
only gives us the opportunity to train in a different environment but
also enhances our military combat capabilities."
Following in the steps of Reeman's father, who served 18 months in the
ROK as an enlisted Marine in the 1950's, this is both Reeman and
Jamison's first time being not only deployed together, but it is the
first time both Airmen have been to the ROK.
"Although my father rarely talked about his experience in Korea, I know
he saw a lot of combat," Reeman said. "His sense of service played a
large role in both of us wanting to serve our country. Since being in
Korea, Mitchell and I had a special opportunity to visit the Korean War
Memorial in Seoul and learn about the history my father was a part of."
Just as Reeman admired his father's sense of service, Jamison too was
inspired to join the Air Force after spending his childhood around
"My father was a huge influence when I decided to join the Air Force,"
Jamison said. "Growing up in the unit as a kid, it was a thrill watching
him take off and even hearing the jets start and seeing them fly. It
really drove the gears and inspired me to join."
With over 22 years of experience flying fighter jets in the Colorado
ANG, when Reeman isn't deployed or conducting sorties on drill weekend,
he wears a different uniform.
"Many of the guardsmen in my unit, including myself, have been
commercial airline pilots for almost 20 years," Reeman said. "Deploying
is always a little bit of a juggling act - with an employer and our
families - because they're not used to us being away from home. But I
have a commitment to the Air Force and working alongside Airmen at
Kunsan has been a reminder of why I continue to serve."
Jamison, a full-time college student, was more than eager to deploy to
Kunsan to further his training and to work alongside his father. As a
crew chief, Jamison is the first and last person to inspect an F-16
"I'm learning more and improving in just two months of being here - from
both my leadership and from active-duty Airmen," Jamison said. "Plus, a
few times a week I've had the chance to be assigned to my father's jet
and send him off before a sortie."
For the next few months, the Colorado ANG will continue to integrate
their operations and missions with the 8th Fighter Wing as well as the
ROKAF 38th Fighter Group.
"Kunsan is a base in the F-16 world that many fighter pilots come to,"
Reeman said. "As an older guardsman, to get a taste of Kunsan is a huge
privilege, but to be here with my son - on the flightline, at the gym,
at church - has been a very special experience."