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ROK,US train to fight at Buddy Wing 15-8

Republic of Korea air force pilots and maintainers prepare a KA-10 Woongbi for a flight during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 17, 2015. The purpose of the Buddy Wing program is to execute joint tactics, exchange ideas and improve interoperability between U.S. Air Force and ROKAF pilots maintainers and support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

Republic of Korea air force pilots and maintainers prepare a KA-10 Woongbi for a flight during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 17, 2015. The purpose of the Buddy Wing program is to execute joint tactics, exchange ideas and improve interoperability between U.S. Air Force and ROKAF pilots maintainers and support personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

Republic of Korea air force Capt. Park Jung Hun, 237th Fighter Squadron, Wonju Air Base, KA-1 Woongbi pilot speaks with Maj. Craig Morash, 25th Fighter Squadron pilot and director of operations, after arriving for Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan AB, ROK, Dec. 15, 2015. Buddy Wing ensures combat readiness and training for combined operations between the U.S. Air Force and ROKAF. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

Republic of Korea air force Capt. Park Jung Hun, 237th Fighter Squadron, Wonju Air Base, KA-1 Woongbi pilot speaks with Maj. Craig Morash, 25th Fighter Squadron pilot and director of operations, after arriving for Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan AB, ROK, Dec. 15, 2015. Buddy Wing ensures combat readiness and training for combined operations between the U.S. Air Force and ROKAF. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

Republic of Korea air force pilots prepare for takeoff during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 17, 2015. The ROKAF pilots performed forward air control and close air support training missions with A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots during the week’s exercise events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

Republic of Korea air force pilots prepare for takeoff during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 17, 2015. The ROKAF pilots performed forward air control and close air support training missions with A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots during the week’s exercise events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

A KA-1 Woongbi prepares for a joint training mission during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 17, 2015. ROK air force pilots performed forward air control training missions with A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots during the week’s exercise events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

A KA-1 Woongbi prepares for a joint training mission during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 17, 2015. ROK air force pilots performed forward air control training missions with A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots during the week’s exercise events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

A Republic of Korea air force 8th Fighter Wing is affixed on the shoulder on a ROKAF pilot during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 17, 2015. ROKAF pilots integrated with 25th Fighter Squadron pilots to train on forward air control and close air support missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

A Republic of Korea air force 8th Fighter Wing is affixed on the shoulder on a ROKAF pilot during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 17, 2015. ROKAF pilots integrated with 25th Fighter Squadron pilots to train on forward air control and close air support missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

A-10 Thunderbolt IIs taxi on the flightline after a forward air control training mission during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 17, 2015. U.S. Air Force and ROKAF pilots performed FAC missions simultaneously to ensure interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

A-10 Thunderbolt IIs taxi on the flightline after a forward air control training mission during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 17, 2015. U.S. Air Force and ROKAF pilots performed FAC missions simultaneously to ensure interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

U.S. Air Force and Republic of Korea air force pilots exchange squadron gifts during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 18, 2015. The pilots exchanged their squadron’s patches and t-shirts before the ROKAF pilots depart Osan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

U.S. Air Force and Republic of Korea air force pilots exchange squadron gifts during Buddy Wing 15-8 at Osan Air Base, ROK, Dec. 18, 2015. The pilots exchanged their squadron’s patches and t-shirts before the ROKAF pilots depart Osan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

Pilots from the 25th Fighter Squadron and Republic of Korea air force's 237th Fighter Squadron performed combat operations during Buddy Wing 15-8, Dec. 15-18 here.

 

Buddy Wing is an exercise that provides a forum for pilots, maintainers and support personnel of both nations to train on their interoperability in the event of a contingency.

 

"It's an opportunity for the ROKAF and U.S. [Air Force] to get together, fly together for a couple days and share some tactics and lessons learned," said 1st Lt. Maurice Grosso, 25th FS pilot. "Should any conflicts kickoff here, we're going to be flying and fighting alongside our ROKAF counterparts. We need that interoperability to allow us to execute our mission and then to execute their mission without any hindrances."

 

The 237th FS pilots, based at Wonju Air Base, ROK, fly in the KA-1 Woongbi which has similar mission capability of forward air control like the Air Force's A-10 Thunderbolt II.

 

"I went out with the KA-1 pilots and executed two missions as a forward air controller for two KA-1s and two A-10s," said Grosso. "It was a good opportunity to see how we execute FAC tactics and how well we communicate."

 

More often than not, the only communication between the pilots is through telecommunications in-flight, which could be a disadvantage said Grosso.

 

"[Buddy Wing] is an opportunity to get some face time with the ROKAF," said Grosso. "When we fly around the same airspace, we typically aren't able to integrate on the ground. It's definitely unique to have conversations [face-to-face]."

 

In addition to camaraderie building during the exercise, the pilots also left Osan to enjoy local restaurants.

 

"They've been very nice and helpful to us, making us feel at home," said Capt. Choi Jang Geun, 237th FS pilot. "There's a lot of nice restaurants and villages outside of Osan.

 

Not only did Buddy Wing help build relationships, it also aided the ROKAF pilots in broadening their knowledge of working in a joint environment.

 

"The biggest takeaway [for me] has been the techniques and tactics due to [our similar mission]," said Choi.

 

"This was my first time with Buddy Wing," he added. "It's been nice to train with the [25th FS], because the joint exercise gave us good experience by learning from each other."

 

The 25th FS hosts a Buddy Wing every year, and Choi, along with his colleagues, said they look forward to hosting their next event at Wonju in 2016.