OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Republic of Korea military officer students at the ROK Joint Forces Military University received mentoring straight from the top Mustang on Feb. 23.
Col. Andrew Hansen, 51st Fighter Wing commander, gave a presentation to a class of ROK soldiers, sailors and airmen about the importance of “joint-ness” in war, or the capability of different branches of the military to work together in a common field.
“[When I was] a more junior leader, I did not fully understand the importance of joint warfighting until I spent a year in Norfolk, Virginia, at the Joint Advanced Warfighting School, which is very similar to this institution,” he said. “It absolutely changed the way I think and allowed me to confidently frame and establish a way ahead when presented with the most complex and ill-structured problems.”
While every branch and country operates differently, Hansen was quick to highlight that the variances in their approaches to the same situation offers learning points to anyone seeking information.
“In some ways these differences are tied to missions and capabilities, but in many ways subtle differences are largely based on service culture,” said Hansen. “While the Army is very stringently adherent to doctrine and updates these foundational documents regularly, the Navy and Air Force take a more dynamic approach. Operating in the air and maritime domains is vastly different than on land.”
The Mustangs at Team Osan work with ROKAF personnel on a daily basis, often working side-by-side in the same facilities, but to have an experienced senior pilot interact with officers from the three ROK military branches was a unique experience for everyone involved, especially the junior ROK officers obtaining this priceless mentorship.
“The young officers who attended the presentation do not have the same level of experience as Col. Hansen and many other American officers who have actually been in a war,” said Yi, Chong Kun, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief of community engagement and former ROKAF weapons systems officer. “They were all very happy to receive such high-level discussion from a senior U.S. Air Force official.”