ROKAF Simulation Center executes KR15
By Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel, Seventh Air Force Public Affairs
/ Published March 10, 2015
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Attacks, counter-attacks, bombs, rescues, evacuations, and logistics are all elements of conflict, which is prepared for and fought all over the world. For the participants of Key Resolve these actions and other important elements of combat come through a buzzing hard drive rather than from a physical foe.
The Republic of Korea Air Force Simulation Center is set up with several components that make up the exercise and make sure it runs smoothly and realistically to accomplish training objectives.
"Our job is to make this training opportunity as realistic as it can possibly be without setting out an exact scenario to follow," said retired Brig. Gen. Barry Barksdale, the senior air controller managing simulation operations.
To achieve this level of realism, opposition forces are given the freedom to develop the scenario as the exercise progresses.
"Our OPFORs get a vote," Barksdale said. "The ROKAF-U.S. forces may react to one inject and the OPFOR can go another direction just to help produce realistic results."
Overall, the retired general maintains "the God's eye" over the exercise, yet he relies on hundreds of people across the country to apply their subject matter expertise for various aspects of a conflict. He said the combined experience and overall excellence of the participants from all services and countries makes KR the most valuable exercise to train combined forces.
Most participants are at KR for the first time, which Maj. Leo Daub, the wing operations center chief from the Illinois Air National Guard's 183rd Air Operations Group, described as a challenge, but one his people can overcome with their ingenuity.
"People come from all over the world to make this operation a success," he said. "They are put into positions they may not feel comfortable, but I try to follow the advice of General Patton, 'Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.'"
Tech. Sgt. Jake Lacefield is one of those service members.
"Trying to figure out new things in such a short time is a huge challenge," the Indianapolis native said. "My career field doesn't have a direct correlation to what's going on here so being able to adapt to new skill sets has been quite rewarding."
Traveling to the exercise from the 50th Contracting Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Lacefield said overcoming cultural differences and strengthening partnerships is also a huge reward.
"We are all different, but all have similarities," he said. "We are all military centric and want to do what's necessary to complete the mission. In addition, bridging the gap between Guard, Reserve and active-duty service members produces a dynamic working environment."
Lacefield's Korean counterpart shares similar views on the exercise and expressed readiness as the key takeaway.
"Without practice we would surely fail in a real-world situation," said ROKAF Capt. Shin, Bok-Young. "It's good to work together to learn to communicate and take lessons from each other improving the mission on both sides of the table."
Key Resolve is an annual combined and joint command post exercise that employs U.S. military personnel from bases around the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States, as well as the ROK air force. The exercise is mostly computer based.