by Senior Airman Taylor Curry
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/2/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members
of the U.S. military oftentimes have relatives that serve alongside
them, and this is the case for the Allen brothers, who were recently
reunited at Exercise Max Thunder 15-1 in the Republic of Korea.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jarrod Allen, an F/A-18 Hornet pilot stationed
at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., and currently
deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, and U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacob Allen, a
U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot stationed at Kunsan Air Base, ROK,
recently had the opportunity to fly and train together during the
biannual air exercise at Gwangju AB, ROK.
"Since we are in different services and fly different fighter aircraft,
we haven't really had the chance to work with each other in this type of
element yet, so we were glad to have this opportunity," said Jarrod.
The first night of Max Thunder would see the brothers training together
in defensive counter air exercises. In that training scenario, Jacob was
leading the first four-ship of allied jets, whose task was to defend
the area from enemy aircraft. As their time on-station neared
completion, the second four-ship approached the airspace to take over
responsibility. Jacob's brother, Jarrod, happened to be the lead of the
"The handoff of responsibility is based on timing, so it has to be
precise," said Jacob. "When the second four-ship approached, I got to
pass responsibility to my brother over the radio, who was then in charge
of defending the area."
The brothers grew up as Navy brats, originally from the San Diego area.
Their father was a naval flight officer for the E-2 Hawkeye, which
motivated them to follow in his footsteps.
"Our dad was a big inspiration to us," said Jacob. "As far back as I can
remember, I always knew I wanted to fly, just like my father. We would
always go to see airshows, and that was so exciting for us both."
Now as captains, Jarrod, known as "Bluto," Jacob, known as "Apollo", fly different aircraft, but with similar missions.
Both brothers explained that they love their job primarily because in the end, what they do helps people.
"The F-16 provides close air support when troops on the ground call in,
and we employ weapons as needed for them to achieve their mission
objectives and most importantly, to survive," said Jacob.
The F/A-18 is also focused as a ground forces supporter, with the main goal looking out for Marines on the deck, Jarrod added.
"My current mission out at Kunsan flying the F-16 and working alongside
ROKAF pilots is a great opportunity," said Jacob. "It's sometimes
challenging, but I love it because it keeps me sharp. If I'm ever called
to do what I'm trained to do, I'll be ready."
Even though they have not been stationed together, the two brothers occasionally bump into each other while on the job.
"Before this exercise, the last time we saw each other was in Jordan for
a couple of hours," said Jarrod. "It wasn't long, but it's still good
to see my brother any chance I get."
Max Thunder, the largest flying exercise held on the Korean Peninsula
twice per year, is aimed at increasing U.S. and ROK interoperability
with dissimilar aircraft and enabling the two allies to be battle-ready
for any potential situation on the ROK.