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Panthers, Samurais relocate for VIGILANT ACE 18

VIGILANT ACE 18

An F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 13th Fighter Squadron taxis to a hardened aircraft shelter prior to the start of VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 30, 2017. VIGILANT ACE 18 is an annual flying exercise encompassing more than 12,000 personnel on the Korean Peninsula and will be executed Dec. 4 through 8. More than 280 Airmen and 18 F-16s from the 35th Fighter Wing are currently participating in the exercise, further developing readiness and interoperability within the Indo-Asia- Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

VIGILANT ACE 18

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Enrique Verbera, a 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, begins to unload essential cargo prior to VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 1, 2017. The 35th Fighter Wing relocated more than 280 personnel and 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons to further enhance the wing’s “fight tonight” capability during the annual exercise held across the Korean Peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

VIGILANT ACE 18

U.S. Air Force crew chiefs assigned to the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron listen to in-processing briefings prior to VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 30, 2017. Once Airmen disembark transport aircraft, local 51st Fighter Wing briefings impart better understanding of procedures, exercise rules of engagement and supporting agencies available for use. More than 280 personnel relocated to Osan AB for the annually held exercise, further enhancing the region’s joint and bilateral readiness among sister services and Indo-Asia- Pacific allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

VIGILANT ACE 18

U.S. Air Force Capt. Brittany Trimble, a 13th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, steps from her jet prior to VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 30, 2017. VIGILANT ACE 18 tests the abilities of 35th Fighter Wing pilots, maintainers and other supporting agencies to exercise rapid regional response within the Indo-Asia- Pacific region and sustain operations away from home station. VIGILANT ACE 18 is an annual flying exercise encompassing more than 12,000 personnel on the Korean Peninsula. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

VIGILANT ACE 18

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Lonnie Jessie, a 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, waits to refuel an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 1, 2017. More than 280 personnel arrived at Osan AB fully equipped and ready to participate in the annually held flying exercise. During the training, 35th Fighter Wing Airmen embed with 51st FW Airmen, ensuring seamless operations for the duration of the exercise.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea -- The 35th Fighter Wing relocated 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons and more than 280 personnel to participate in VIGILANT ACE 18, an annual flying exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, occurring Dec. 4 through 8.

The exercise tests the readiness of 35th FW Airmen to rapidly respond within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and enhance interoperability with allies and sister services across the Korean Peninsula, while sustaining operations away from home station.

“Overall, this exercise will help identify shortfalls our fighter squadron would endure if we had to relocate to the ROK during a real-world scenario,” said 1st Lt. Michael Mayclin, a 13th Fighter Squadron F-16 pilot. “We want to safely execute our ‘Wild Weasel’ mission set during our time here, while further learning about our role within the Pacific.”

During the relocation, both pilots and maintainers focused on a seamless operational transition from Misawa AB to Osan AB.

“Our number one priority ensures bed-down procedures, or getting equipment and personnel in the right location, are completed and will sufficiently support the mission for immediate operational use,” said Capt. Gabriel Byrd, the 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge. “It is important to find and correct errors during a simulated exercise versus a real-world wartime contingency.”

Alongside the 35th FW, Airmen with the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan AB received realistic training in-processing Airmen from another unit.

“There are very few differences between receiving forces and cargo during VIGILANT ACE 18 and during a wartime environment,” said Staff Sgt. David Mayo, a 51st Maintenance Group unit reception monitor. “If we are flying by the seat of our pants when a real-world scenario occurs, a lot of time and effort will be wasted, potentially costing lives. This exercise forces us to be flexible and accommodate the needs of incoming units.”

VIGILANT ACE 18 encompasses more than 12,000 U.S. personnel at eight ROK and U.S. military installations across the Korean Peninsula.