Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Oct. 15, 2021

Osan Conducts Combat Search and Rescue Training

By Senior Airman Allison Payne 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Team Osan is hosting a Combat Search and Rescue Training event. Formerly known as Pacific Thunder, the training is a semiannual joint coalition training for not only the Korean Theater of Operations, but Pacific Air Forces as a whole.

The focus of the training event is to maximize integration while taking advantage of the unique opportunity presented to practice Personnel Recovery (PR) operations with a full spectrum of experience levels and assets.

“Combat Search and Rescue is an extremely important mission set from a strategic, tactical and moral point of view,” said Lt. Col. Zach Hughes, 25th Fighter Squadron commander. “Strategically, because any captured friendly personnel represent a potential propaganda or intelligence windfall for an adversary. Tactically, because aircrew are more confident accepting risky and dangerous mission sets when they know someone has their back if things go badly. Morally, because America has always pledged to bring home all of her service members.”

While there are many different methods of joint Personnel Recovery, Combat Search and Rescue is the United States Air Force’s specialty. It is fast, aggressive and involves snatching isolated personnel behind enemy lines before they can be located and captured, according to Hughes.

“It is an extremely difficult, dangerous mission set that is nearly impossible to conduct if it hasn’t been trained for,” said Hughes. “PR is nothing new, but Combat Search and Rescue in its current form really only came of age in the Vietnam War. Downed U.S. aviators were of huge propaganda value to the North Vietnamese, so entire task forces were dedicated to recovering these aviators. Some hard lessons came out of the Vietnam War.”

Throughout the event, those participating will have the opportunity to undergo various training scenarios. These scenarios will include both ground and air components.

“Some of the scenarios allow us to expose our less experienced pilots to combat situations where they are truly the only people who can shape the battlefield and, ultimately, bring the Isolated Personnel (IP) home,” said Capt. Bradley Jones, 25th Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot. “Other scenarios simulate a near-peer conflict where we have to establish air superiority, roll back the Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) and present the Combat Search and Rescue Task Force the opportunity to bring our people home.

“No matter what scenario we’re using, it reinforces the contract the Combat Search and Rescue community holds with all service members and our partner nations. If you find yourself behind enemy lines, keep your chin up and keep fighting because we’ll move heaven and earth to bring you home.”

Joint exercises with the Korean Combat Search and Rescue counterparts bring about their own complications. Communication can be difficult across different languages and cultures, and clear communication can make all the difference in an emergency situation.

“For Combat Search and Rescue specifically, in any situations when an aircraft gets shot down and there’s a surviving air crew, ‘speed is life’,” said Hughes. “The longer an individual is stuck behind enemy lines, the more likely they are to get captured, even if they do everything right. When you’re surrounded by an enemy, bad luck can happen. As soon as we have the criteria met and assets in place, we’re going to try and rescue any isolated personnel as soon as possible. Generally speaking, faster is better. All of that to say that when you’re behind enemy lines, you’re just as happy to get hoisted to safety by a Korean helicopter as an American one. The ROK is entirely capable of playing that role and playing it well.”

Like Us
Follow Us



USS Frank Cable Arrives in Kure for Port Visit
USS Frank Cable (AS 40) arrives at Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Naval Base, Nov. 23, 2021.
Nov. 29, 2021 - KURE, Japan  – The Emory S. Land-class submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) arrived in Kure.This is the second port visit in the country of Japan for Frank Cable. The ship recently departed Yokohama, Japan — the ship’s...

U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Inspired to Share USS Arizona Relics
Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, presents a relic from the USS Arizona (BB-39) to the crew of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) in remembrance and commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The relic originates from a section of the superstructure of the Arizona that was removed from the ship when the Arizona Memorial was constructed. The Naval History and Heritage Command authorized the removal of sections of the relics for display and legacy enhancing purposes in 1994.
Nov. 29, 2021 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii - On October 17, 1916, Woodrow Wilson was president and the average pay for an ensign in the Navy was $141.67 per month. The world was embroiled in World War I and the United States was...

Washington National Guard and Royal Malaysian Air Force honor fallen colleague in unique ceremony
From Right to Left: Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Commander of the Washington Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general, Washington and Brig. Gen. Dan Dent, Commanding General of the Washington Army National Guard attend the memorial ceremony for Royal Malaysian Air Force Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan on Nov. 23, 2021 at the House of Mercy, an all-Muslim cemetery near Covington, Wash. Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan passed away after sustaining a medical emergency during a recent State Partnership Program visit to Washington.
Nov. 24, 2021 - During the recent Washington and Malaysian airmen to airmen talks held at Camp Murray, a tragedy occurred when Royal Malaysian Air Force Col. Hasnol Abu Hassan died after sustaining a medical emergency. His sudden passing was...

Prototype Aims to Reduce Fuel Use, Improve Tactical Vehicle Performance
Military vehicles move down a road at the Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group in Fort Polk, La., Nov. 24, 2020.
Nov. 24, 2021 - The Defense Department operates a fleet of more than 250,000 tactical vehicles, which frequently operate in austere conditions. These vehicles often spend as much of their operational time stationary as they do in motion,...

U.S. Marines and Sailors Rehearse Maritime Strikes in the Pacific
A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112 takes off from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 18, 2021. VMFA-112 participated in a joint maritime strike rehearsal with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Okinawa, Nov 19, 2021. U.S. Marines with VMFA-112 routinely train and rehearse joint maritime mission sets in order to maintain readiness to carry out a wide range of operational tasks in a region characterized by vast oceans, seas, and waterways.
Nov. 24, 2021 - IWAKUNI, Japan. -- U.S. forces with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet conducted a joint rehearsal of tactics and simulated strikes on naval targets off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 19, 2021. Between...