OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Exercise Pacific Thunder 17-1 wrapped up after more than two weeks of intense combat search and rescue training across the ROK.
Rescue teams comprised of aircraft and personnel from the 25th Fighter Squadron, the 33rd and 31st Rescue Squadrons, and the ROK air force flew sorties to rescue and escort personnel simulating downed pilots back to Osan.
“[These] scenarios didn’t play out exactly how they were planned, [but] their ability to assess the situation and then adjust their plan in the heat of the moment is a testament to their professionalism, flexibility and dedication to returning their fellow service members to friendly forces,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Pevehouse, 51st Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist.
While the primary purpose of the exercise was to provide continuous practice for the CSAR teams, an ancillary opportunity for pilots to practice their SERE skills was present on each mission, as each downed pilot spent extended periods of time in the wilderness with SERE specialists.
“[We] look forward to learning new lessons throughout this exercise, lessons we can take and make sure we never learn when lives are actually on the line,” said Lt. Col. Razvan Radoescu, 25th FS commander.
The ultimate goal is to have Pacific Air Forces CSAR teams prepared to accomplish their mission, no matter what stands in the way.
“The brave men and women who serve today…can do so with the full confidence that if they are captured, become missing, or fall in battle, this nation will spare no effort to bring them home. This our solemn pledge: However long it takes, whatever it takes, whatever the cost.” - Paul Walfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, September 2004