36 FS, AMU dominate Vigilant Ace 16

Senior Airman Matthew Self, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, bids farewell to a pilot inside an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. During Vigilant Ace 16, Airmen launch and recover aircraft during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Senior Airman Matthew Self, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, bids farewell to a pilot inside an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. During Vigilant Ace 16, Airmen launch and recover aircraft during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Airmen assigned to the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit perform final checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The Fiends are one of more than eight squadrons participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Airmen assigned to the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit perform final checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The Fiends are one of more than eight squadrons participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Senior Airman Jordan Cotton, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant dedicated crew chief, directs an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron to a stop Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The Fiends are participating in readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Senior Airman Jordan Cotton, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant dedicated crew chief, directs an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron to a stop Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The Fiends are participating in readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Senior Airman Jordan Cotton, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant dedicated crew chief, signals to an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron while post-flight inspections are performed Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Cotton is one of more than 16,000 personnel participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Senior Airman Jordan Cotton, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant dedicated crew chief, signals to an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron while post-flight inspections are performed Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Cotton is one of more than 16,000 personnel participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Members assigned to the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit perform post-flight checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. During the large-scale exercise, Airmen are launching and recovering aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Members assigned to the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit perform post-flight checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. During the large-scale exercise, Airmen are launching and recovering aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Airmen assigned to the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit push an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron inside a hardened facility Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The 36th FS is executing both day and night sorties during Vigilant Ace 16, challenging maintenance members to work around the clock in order to meet required mission sets. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Airmen assigned to the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit push an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron inside a hardened facility Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The 36th FS is executing both day and night sorties during Vigilant Ace 16, challenging maintenance members to work around the clock in order to meet required mission sets. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron is pushed inside a hardened facility by members of the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. More than eight squadrons from three separate bases across Pacific Air Forces are participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron is pushed inside a hardened facility by members of the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. More than eight squadrons from three separate bases across Pacific Air Forces are participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Senior Airman Brian Back, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, checks inside the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the large-scale readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. Throughout the exercise, Airmen launch and recover aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Senior Airman Brian Back, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, checks inside the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the large-scale readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. Throughout the exercise, Airmen launch and recover aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Staff Sgt. Joseph Musil, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, climbs inside the intake of an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the large-scale readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. Throughout Vigilant Ace 16, maintenance crews work around the clock to ensure precision combat aircraft are able to meet exercise demands. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Staff Sgt. Joseph Musil, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, climbs inside the intake of an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the large-scale readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. Throughout Vigilant Ace 16, maintenance crews work around the clock to ensure precision combat aircraft are able to meet exercise demands. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Alteri, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, guides an MJ-1 Jammer with munitions into a hardened facility before loading it to an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. During the large-scale exercise Vigilant Ace 16, Airmen load aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)
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Staff Sgt. Christopher Alteri, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, guides an MJ-1 Jammer with munitions into a hardened facility before loading it to an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. During the large-scale exercise Vigilant Ace 16, Airmen load aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Staff Sgt. Christopher Alteri, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, performs a weapons inspection on an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The 36th FS is participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)
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Staff Sgt. Christopher Alteri, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief, performs a weapons inspection on an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The 36th FS is participating in Vigilant Ace 16. Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Airman 1st Class Gabriel Bongat, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member, uses a speed handle on an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the large-scale readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. During the exercise, Airmen launch and recover aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)
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Airman 1st Class Gabriel Bongat, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member, uses a speed handle on an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron Nov. 4, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Members of the 36th AMU are participating in the large-scale readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16. During the exercise, Airmen launch and recover aircraft continuously during their 12-hour shifts. Vigilant Ace 16 is designed to enhance the interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Night and day, the Fiends of the 36th Fighter Squadron are sending fully-loaded F-16 Fighting Falcons into the skies above the Korean peninsula to test their combat capabilities and readiness during Vigilant Ace 16.

Vigilant Ace 16 is a large-scale exercise designed to enhance combat capabilities and interoperability of the U.S. and Republic of Korea Air Forces.

"Our goal is to be able to prove our ability to sustain combat operations in this type of extreme environment," said Master Sgt. Robert McNiven, 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit production superintendent from Fairbanks, Alaska. "We are able to project our combat ability anywhere in the region. These types of readiness exercises are a fantastic way for us to prove that to our allies across the globe."

Airmen are working longer days and nights due to the operations tempo of Vigilant Ace 16.

"Our Airmen are working long, hard days but they are absolutely awesome at what they do and are proving they can sustain this type of combat operation and fix any problem or issue that arises," said McNiven. "They are showing their ability to take the fight to the enemy."

Despite these exercise challenges, jets continue to be loaded, fixed when necessary, and sent back out to sustain the intense exercise operations.

"We are out here launching and recovering these jets as quickly and safely as possible," said Senior Airman Ashley Nichols, 36th AMU crew chief from Rockford, Illinois. "Wearing the extra gear can be awkward at times but we are so busy that it doesn't affect our ability to get the jets into the sky as safely and quickly as possible."

36th FS pilots spend hours working seamlessly with 36th AMU members to effectively complete the mission.

"None of this is possible without the dedicated maintenance professionals," said Lt. Col. Travis Ruhl, 51st Fighter Wing Inspector General and F-16 pilot. "They are the ones who make the entire aircraft generation possible for this exercise."

As readiness exercise Vigilant Ace 16 continues , Fiends from every career field are testing their abilities and combat effectiveness, while working tirelessly to ensure they are the squadron dominating the skies.

"Day or night, with multiple configurations and platforms... the Fiends are bringing the fight to the enemy," said McNiven.