Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 kicks off with CSAR scenarios

An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron flies over Republic of Korea air space for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS comes to Osan AB, ROK, for Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron flies over Republic of Korea air space for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS comes to Osan AB, ROK, for Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Republic of Korea air force 2nd Lt. Wonseog Chung, Air Force Operations Command combined coordinator translator, ROKAF Capt. Hatae Wook, 123rd Fighter Squadron pilot, and Capt. Zachary Krueger, 25th Fighter Squadron pilot, plan a mission for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. Pacific Thunder is the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Republic of Korea air force 2nd Lt. Wonseog Chung, Air Force Operations Command combined coordinator translator, ROKAF Capt. Hatae Wook, 123rd Fighter Squadron pilot, and Capt. Zachary Krueger, 25th Fighter Squadron pilot, plan a mission for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. Pacific Thunder is the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Ben Rudolphi, 355th Fighter Wing chief of safety, gives a safety brief to U.S. and Republic of Korea forces before a combat search and rescue scenario during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. Pacific Thunder is the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan

U.S. Air Force Maj. Ben Rudolphi, 355th Fighter Wing chief of safety, gives a safety brief to U.S. and Republic of Korea forces before a combat search and rescue scenario during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. Pacific Thunder is the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan

SSgt Brandon McCown, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, and Master Sgt. Vincent, 33rd Rescue Squadron special mission aviator, review a preflight checklist before flight during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Air Force combined joint combat search and rescue exercise in the Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

SSgt Brandon McCown, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, and Master Sgt. Vincent, 33rd Rescue Squadron special mission aviator, review a preflight checklist before flight during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Air Force combined joint combat search and rescue exercise in the Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Senior Airman James Turnbull, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, and Senior Airman Sheridan McNeil, 33rd HMU aerospace propulsion technician, document post-flight maintenance on an HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 33rd Rescue Squadron before a flight during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Senior Airman James Turnbull, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, and Senior Airman Sheridan McNeil, 33rd HMU aerospace propulsion technician, document post-flight maintenance on an HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 33rd Rescue Squadron before a flight during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Staff Sgt. Joe Arriza, 33rd Rescue Squadron aerial gunner, looks over a preflight checklist before a combat search and rescue scenario during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS is at Osan to participate in Pacific Thunder, the largest combat search and rescue exercise in the Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Staff Sgt. Joe Arriza, 33rd Rescue Squadron aerial gunner, looks over a preflight checklist before a combat search and rescue scenario during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS is at Osan to participate in Pacific Thunder, the largest combat search and rescue exercise in the Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Senior Airman Gricelda Tomson, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit guidance flight control technician, watches as an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron starts up during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS comes to Osan to participate in Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Senior Airman Gricelda Tomson, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit guidance flight control technician, watches as an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron starts up during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS comes to Osan to participate in Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Senior Airman Paul Roberts, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, pulls chalks from an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron prior to a flight during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Senior Airman Paul Roberts, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, pulls chalks from an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron prior to a flight during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron takes off during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 33rd Rescue Squadron takes off during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2016. The 33rd RQS is participating in Pacific Thunder, the largest Pacific combined joint exercise in which U.S. and ROK forces train and test combat search and rescue skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron flies over Republic of Korea countryside during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2, July 13, 2016. The 33d RQS comes to Osan AB, ROK, for Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)
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An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron flies over Republic of Korea countryside during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2, July 13, 2016. The 33d RQS comes to Osan AB, ROK, for Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Staff Sgt. Adam Pope, 33rd Rescue Squadron flight engineer, looks out over Republic of Korea countryside during a combat search and rescue scenario for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. Pacific Thunder is the largest Pacific combat search and rescue exercise designed to test ROK and U.S. forces on their ability rescue a downed pilot behind enemy lines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)
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Staff Sgt. Adam Pope, 33rd Rescue Squadron flight engineer, looks out over Republic of Korea countryside during a combat search and rescue scenario for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. Pacific Thunder is the largest Pacific combat search and rescue exercise designed to test ROK and U.S. forces on their ability rescue a downed pilot behind enemy lines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron flies over Republic of Korea countryside during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS comes to Osan AB, ROK, for Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)
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An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron flies over Republic of Korea countryside during Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS comes to Osan AB, ROK, for Pacific Thunder to train their combat search and rescue capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Senior Airman Paul Roberts, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, guides in an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron after flying a combat search and rescue training scenario for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS plans to test their combat search and rescue skills at Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-01 at Osan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)
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Senior Airman Paul Roberts, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit crew chief, guides in an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to 33rd Rescue Squadron after flying a combat search and rescue training scenario for Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 13, 2016. The 33rd RQS plans to test their combat search and rescue skills at Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-01 at Osan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Steffen/Released)

Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea --

Exercise Pacific Thunder 16-2 kicked off this week with both U.S. and Republic of Korea air force units from throughout the Pacific participating in simulated combat search and rescue missions.

The two-week long exercise is the largest combined joint exercise in the Pacific, and is designed to train aircrews and commanders on validating tactics, techniques and procedures used for combat search and rescue and suppression of enemy air defense.
 
“Combat search and rescue and personnel recovery are a critical part of any military operation,” said Col. Brian Carr, 51st Fighter Wing vice commander. “Pacific Thunder provides an excellent opportunity for U.S. Airmen and other service members to get familiar with CSAR operations on the Korean Peninsula. This exercise is an extremely valuable tool that helps U.S. Airmen learn to work alongside our Republic of Korea partners to enhance our combined combat capabilities.”

 

Aircraft used in the exercise include A-10s and F-16s from the 51st Fighter Wing; F-16s from the 8th Fighter Wing; HH-60 Pave Hawks, E-3 AWACS, and an RC-135 from the 18th Wing; and U-2s from 7th Air Force alongside more than 200 ROKAF personnel and 22 aircraft.
 

Each airframe plays a specific role to ensure survivors of downed aircraft are safely returned home, such as HH-60s picking up survivors, while A-10s find and protect them with air-to-ground capabilities. The integration of support aircraft such as E-3s to keep lines of communication open and KC-135s to refuel aircraft in the air is integral to conducting CSAR missions.

“We want to integrate with our Pilsung brothers from the 25th Fighter Squadron so we can practice high-end combat search and rescue training,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Conde, 33rd Rescue Squadron commander. “We want to train like we fight in the Korean theater.”

The varied functions of the different types of aircraft all come together to accomplish one singular mission: find survivors and bring them home.

“It’s one of the few opportunities that the 33rd has of graduate level combat search and rescue training,  where we are integrating strike assets and a variety of ISR assets and C2 assets to effect the recovery of downed pilots,” said Conde.

Through combined CSAR training, Exercise Pacific Thunder is enhancing the combat readiness between U.S. and Republic of Korea air forces to work seamlessly together, and to enrich interoperability between the U.S. and ROKAF.