by 1st Lt. Earon Brown
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/6/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Making
their way from Aurora, Colo., more than 200 Airmen and F-16 Fighting
Falcons from the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard touched down at
Kunsan AB in February as part of a rotational Theater Security Package.
For many of the Colorado Airmen, this is their first visit to the ROK as
they take part in the routine deployment of fighter squadrons, fuel
tankers, support personnel and equipment meant to augment U.S. forces
stationed across the Asia-Pacific region, also referred to as a TSP.
"Over the past 12 years, our wing has deployed to the Middle East
routinely, however, this time the 120th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron
and 120th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit have deployed as part
of a TSP to South Korea," said Lt. Col. Mitchell Neff, 120th EFS
commander. "We are here to integrate with the 8th Fighter Wing as part
of Armistice operations on the peninsula."
For three to four months, the "Redeyes" will be integrating their
operations with those of the 8th FW's Wolf Pack and the Republic of
Korea Air Force 38th Fighter Group.
Since March 2004, deployments mirroring the Redeyes' have been an
integral part of U.S. Pacific Command's combat capable air forces, which
are postured for averting threats to regional security and stability.
"We are here to deter, but if called upon, we will defend South Korea," added Neff.
With units deploying to Guam, Japan, and South Korea, these movements
underscore the U.S. commitment to regional partners and U.S. security
"The tempo is fairly rapid here as personnel rotate in and out of the
peninsula daily," said Neff. "It requires everyone to hit the ground
running to be ready to 'fight tonight.'"
As the only base in the ROK that houses U.S. and ROKAF flying squadrons,
the deployment of rotational fighters to Kunsan AB also provides unique
possibilities to integrate various forces into combined bilateral
"There are many training opportunities we can capitalize on while
deployed to Kunsan," said Neff. "We've been able to integrate with the
8th FW in their operational readiness exercises and understand how we
would take part in combat operations. In addition to that, we have
successfully flown with the 38th Fighter Group's 111th Fighter Squadron
in a large force employment exercise."
With the completion of Exercise Beverly Midnight 15-2, Kunsan's first of
multiple OREs this year, the Redeyes have already received invaluable
training to impart on their fellow Buckley Airmen.
"Our exercises back home are a bit different from the ones here at
Kunsan, mostly due to time constraints," said Senior Airman Dusty Alynn,
120th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief. "At home our exercises last
four days and we only do them once every couple of years. There is a
lot thrown at us in a short amount of time, which is why it's good to
see how other units conduct their training and base operations."
In addition to maintaining readiness, base operations at Kunsan include
the acceptance of follow-on forces, with the guardsmen being a welcomed
addition to the Wolf Pack family.
"I cannot even put into words how thrilled I am with the people that I
have met here," said Alynn. "Every single individual that I have come
across is so overwhelmingly helpful, kind, friendly and greets us with
open arms. The family that has been created here is so amazing."
For both the Redeyes and the Wolf Pack, living, training and flying
together has been beneficial as they aid one another in deterring
aggression on the Korean Peninsula.
"The experience is not over yet, but so far it has been a very good
one," added Neff. "For our young, inexperienced Airmen, this deployment
is great because they can get the experience they need for future
deployments and exercises, while also interacting with another
culture. We can train like we fight as we maintain stability in the