ROK, USAF Chiefs Build Partnership through Experiences

By Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert

From 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  - Forty-five of the top enlisted members from the Republic of Korea and U.S. Air Force arrived at Osan Air Base Oct. 12, 2012, to create an even stronger Alliance among the two nations.

These E-9s, or chief master sergeants, arrived for the second annual USAF/ROKAF Senior Enlisted Leadership Conference to discuss how to improve both Air Force's through shared experiences.

Lt. Gen Jan-Marc Jouas, 7th Air Force commander, opened the conference by discussing the importance of forums such as these in order to learn from one another and improve their nations' enlisted corps. "I believe we already have the strongest Alliance in the world, but every day, by working together, we can make it that much stronger," he said.

The chiefs discussed enlisted rank structures and communicated with their counterparts before enjoying a cookout and softball game later in the afternoon. Chief Master Sgt. Scott Delveau, 7th Air Force command chief, explained how last year's event included a conference, academics, and a soccer game followed by a trip to a Korean restaurant.

"It's very important to continue this tradition because we're building on what we learned from last year," he said. "Last year was very good. It broke the ice."

Sharing experiences is a great asset used by chiefs to educate their NCOs and Airmen on what skills they have learned during this workshop, explained ROKAF Command Chief Master Sgt. Wang Seong Buyun, Air Force Operations command chief. A valuable experience like this can be shared as the conferences will continue in the future.

"It is well known that the U.S. and ROK Air Forces are protecting the ROK by deterring any contingency in the peninsula as Air Component Command Forces," he said. "It is important that we know what our counterparts in the U.S. Air Force are doing and how to operate together. To strengthen this, we host U.S. and ROK chief master sergeants workshops to provide the opportunity to come together."

Last year's event included 13 U.S and ROK chiefs from Osan, Delveau said, but this year's event has stretched across the peninsula.

"This year we expanded the participants to include more functional managers and now we have every command chief from every ROKAF base across the country," he said. "This is a really good opportunity for an extensive exchange of information."

"I've learned quite a bit in the past 18 months I've been in Korea just talking to the chief master sergeants about simple things like how they care for their Airmen. We learn a lot from them and they learn a lot about us, so the more we communicate and engage with each other, the better it is going to be for our Airmen."

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— USPACOM (posted October 19, 2012) —