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Wolf Pack validates agile combat readiness across the ROK

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman James Johnson
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 8th Fighter Wing collaborated with the Republic of Korea Air Force to engage in a series of agile combat employment operations during Beverly Pack 24-1, May 7-9.

The ACE exercise portion consisted of approximately 67 Airmen deployed to Gwangju Air Base, ROK. The exercise tested and refined the 8th FW’s ability to deploy and operate in unfamiliar locations at a moment’s notice.

“ACE comes into play when a situation such as Kunsan entering a conflict, we can set up a detachment with minimal manpower, and can continue the mission and respond effectively to the threat,” said Senior Airman Miguel Cardero Lopez, 80th Fighter Generation Squadron electrical environmental systems technician. “It’s crucial to be able to set up anywhere, allowing us to move to different locations and keep the enemy guessing. This ultimately enables us to execute our mission effectively.”

The exercise challenged the wing’s retrieval, refueling, and aircraft launch capabilities while advancing Airmen’s knowledge and skills to effectively generate airpower across the Indo-Pacific region.

As mission-ready Airmen, members of the Wolf Pack involved in ACE took on several responsibilities, some outside their normal specialty, in order to complete the mission.

“Our Airmen are here to train and help develop and communicate our needs in various environments, thus allowing us to define the needs of future deployments,” said Capt. Zoe Barnette, 8th Maintenance Group director of operations. “It isn’t an if, but a when. And when the time came, we wanted to execute as if we’d been there before.”

Exercises such as Bev Pack are designed to challenge the capabilities of the units in a high-pressure environment.

“The main challenge we face is time availability, we need to be tested in an environment that best mimics what reality will be,” said Barnette. “There’s very little time to get time-on-target while we potentially face the added risk and pressures of chemical and biological warfare.”

Sending Airmen to locations like Gwangju allows for collaborative exercises that simulate real- world situations and promote teamwork to enhance regional security. These joint efforts boost operational abilities and strengthen bonds between allied forces.

Ultimately, the goal of the 8th FW is to be able to “take the fight north,” and training to rapidly respond and generate air power in new environments is crucial for effective operations when executing the mission in a real-world scenario. By practicing these skills through ACE exercises and training with ROKAF partners, the 8th FW stays ready to project airpower wherever needed, no matter the challenges.