Peninsula leaders immersed in Airpower

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Nicolle Mathison and Master Sgt. Rachelle Morris
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

Seventh Air Force hosted Airpower Immersion Days February 10-11 on Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, giving senior leadership from around the peninsula a first-hand look at how the Air Force executes the mission for the joint and combined fight.

Eighteen sister service members attended the event, broken into four groups over two days. Among the attendees were leaders from United States Forces Korea, United Nations Command, Special Operations Command-Korea, Marine Forces-Korea, Eighth Army and 2nd Infantry Division.

“The Airpower Immersion Day is an opportunity for the Seventh Air Force to expose our United States Forces Korea teammates to the intricacies that go into providing air effects,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Pleus, Seventh Air Force commander. “We have annual joint training events, but those are focused on honing our operational command and control capabilities and our partners can’t see the whole picture. Our goal for today is to highlight the Seventh Air Force’s Airmen’s great work, answer any lingering questions and make us a more cohesive force.”    

As the event took place on Osan AB, the 51st Fighter Wing played a huge role.

“Our primary goals for supporting the immersion days is to highlight our Airmen’s hard work and technical expertise and provide an accurate depiction of what it takes to support all orders both at the strategic and tactical level at Osan AB,” said Col. Joshua Wood, 51st FW commander. “This event is of high value to the 51st FW, because our goal is for all who attend to be able to have a better understanding of their forces’ capabilities and limitations when it comes to leveraging airpower.”

The event featured a visit to the 607th Air Operations Center, a hands-on munitions build and F-16 missile load and an opportunity to utilize A-10 and F-16 dynamic targeting simulators.

“We concluded the best way to accomplish this goal was by getting their hands dirty,” said Maj Ryan Mendenall, 51st FW director of staff and Airpower Immersion Day project officer. “We’ve put together an itinerary, which enables our guests to be fully engaged with the aircraft, weapons, and the command and control component via hands-on training to provide a realistic depiction of our Airmen’s roles and responsibilities. We made it a point to steer away from the typical Power Points, theory and doctrine briefings.”

The guests were intrigued and had eager to learn.

“I’m very interested in gaining knowledge and understanding of the Combined Air Component Command, how you operate, and generating opportunities for future Joint and Combined training with the Warrior Division,” said Army Maj. Gen. David A. Lesperance, 2nd Infantry Division-ROK/U.S. Combined commander.

Also among the attendees was Command Sgt. Maj. JoAnn Naumann, U.S. Special Operations Command-Korea senior enlisted leader.

“It is fascinating to see first-hand how the Combined Air Component Command executes direction from Combined Forces Command and seamlessly turns it into actions,” said Naumann. “You don’t realize how many players it takes to generate flight, but the ACC makes it look easy.  I appreciate this more after being able to participate in the immersion.  Their countless hours and dedication allow all of us to remain ready to fight tonight.” 

Seventh Air Force hopes to continue hosting the event regularly in the future.

“Understanding how the Seventh Air Force provides air capabilities is vital to mission success in a joint environment,” said Pleus. “Each service has a vital part to play on the combined arms team. In order for that team to be most effective, each team member needs to know and appreciate each other’s procedures. This event only further enhances our partnerships.”