36 FS, AMU dominate Vigilant Ace 16
By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 05, 2015
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.