An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Oct. 20, 2023

USAF, ROKAF join forces for Herk Guardians 23

By Airman 1st Class Natalie Doan, 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

United States Air Force representatives from Yokota Air Base, Japan, met Republic of Korea Air Force counterparts at Gimhae Air Base, South Korea, for a week of tactical airlift training and cultural exchange as part of Herk Guardians 23, Oct. 9–13.

HG 23 is a bilateral training event designed to advance interoperability between USAF and ROKAF mobility units through subject matter expert exchanges and scenario-based training.

The week-long exercise began with mission briefings and discussions geared toward a variety of topics, including night-vision capabilities and heavy equipment operations, along with mission sets under tactical airlift execution.

Leaders from the 36th Airlift Squadron then sat down with their ROKAF counterparts to conduct mission planning for a training scenario involving static line jumps and simulated cargo drops over a drop zone in South Korea.

Capt. Isaac Pérez, 36th AS C-130J Super Hercules pilot, served as the mission commander for HG 23 and lauded the efforts of both USAF and ROKAF personnel as they worked together to ensure a successful exercise.

“It took a village for members of both the U.S. Air Force and Republic of Korea Air Force to ensure a safe and effective integration during Herk Guardians 23,” said Pérez. “There's always room for improvement when working together, but that's the beautiful process of strengthening our alliance and building our interoperability for the future. It's been impressive to see our two forces come together this past week.”

The USAF and ROKAF each provided two C-130Js for HG 23, allowing aircrew members from both militaries to observe each side’s tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Master Sgt. Toni Odom, 36th AS flight chief, said she and her fellow loadmasters supporting the exercise learned there are more similarities than differences between them and their ROKAF counterparts when it comes to securing cargo load.

“They hold a very high standard just like we do,” said Odom. “Whenever we meet in the middle and combine our standards, it makes us stronger in the future.”

To conclude HG 23, ROKAF leaders invited members from Yokota to visit the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, where they observed a moment of silence for the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers and war veterans.

ROKAF and USAF personnel then came together for one last time in the evening to share a meal and exchange gifts, with leaders from both sides thanking each other for a successful exercise.

“It's been a real pleasure working with the ROKAF to practice joint interoperability within the Korean Peninsula,” said Maj. Cameron Vickroy, 36th AS assistant director of operations. “Together, we are working to secure the Indo-Pacific region from the threats we may face in the future, and without this alliance, we can't make that happen.”

HG 23 marks the first time the exercise has been held in five years, with the last iteration taking place in 2018 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capt. Heejoong Kim, 36th AS C-130J pilot, is looking forward to training alongside his ROKAF counterparts again.

“Through Herk Guardians 23, we validated the interoperability and tactical airlift capabilities of two great Air Forces,” said Kim. “This was a unique opportunity that allowed the 36th Airlift Squadron to accomplish multiple training objectives, and I hope we get to experience an exercise like this again in the future.”




U.S. 7th Fleet, Blue Ridge Team Conduct Maneuvering Exercise with French Navy
PHILIPPINE SEA (June 14, 2024) - U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), left, conducts a maneuvering exercise with the French Navy Aquitaine-class frigate FS Bretagne (D 655) in the Philippine Sea during Valiant Shield 2024, June 14, 2024. Exercises such as Valiant Shield allow the Indo-Pacific Command Joint Forces the opportunity to integrate forces from all branches of services and with our allies to conduct precise, overwhelming multi-axis, multi-domain effects that demonstrate the strength and versatility of the Joint Force and our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan M. Breeden)
June 17, 2024 - Sailors assigned to both U.S. 7th Fleet and the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) conducted a maneuvering exercise with the French Navy Aquitaine-class frigate FS Bretagne (D 655), during Valiant Shield 2024, June...

Hawaii Air National Guard Hosts Sentry Aloha Joint Exercise
An A-10 Warthog and F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center, an F-16 from the 177th Fighter Wing, an F-35A Lighting II from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, and an F-22 Raptor, operated by the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons, assemble during exercise Sentry Aloha 24-2 June 6, 2024, above the island of Hawaii. This iteration of the exercise involved approximately 1,060 participants and more than 40 aircraft from nine states,  operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and Onizuka Kona International Airport, Keāhole.
June 17, 2024 - The Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing concluded the latest iteration of its ongoing fighter exercise, Sentry Aloha 24-2, June 12 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam...

Strengthening Military-Civilian Relations and Partnerships on Global Health Security
Australian Rear Adm. Sonya Bennett, Australian Defence Force surgeon general, gives opening remarks to the Military Civilian Health Security Summit co-hosted by the Australian Defence Force, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Sydney, June 16, 2024. Established in 2018, the MCHSS symbolizes a unified commitment to address global health security challenges and provides an opportunity for participants to share valuable insights and enhance regional readiness by improving coordination and collaboration between military and civilian entities. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies and deterring aggression. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Austin Riel)
June 17, 2024 - SYDNEY — The Australian Defence Force and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command co-hosted the Military Civilian Health Security Summit in Sydney, June 16-17, bringing together 23 Indo-Pacific partner nations, international organizations,...

U.S.-Philippine littoral live-fire training success
U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 214, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, assemble a GBU-32 joint direct attack munition onto a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II with VMFA-214, MAG 13, 3rd MAW, before a littoral live-fire exercise off the coast of Ilocos Norte and Zambales during Marine Aviation Support Activity 24 on Clark Air Base, Philippines, June 15, 2024. The LLFX showcased the integrated command and control capabilities of the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces in a territorial defense scenario featuring a coordinated bilateral and maritime strike. MASA is an annual Philippine-U.S. military exercise focused on mutual defense, strengthening relationships, and rehearsing emerging aviation concepts. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Shaina Jupiter)
June 17, 2024 - On June 15, 2024, elements of the Philippine and U.S. armed forces conducted a live-fire event for Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA) 24. MASA is an annual Philippine-U.S. military exercise taking place in the...

U.S. Coast Guard hosts cadets from Japanese Coast Guard Training Ship Kojima
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam and Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu personnel stand for a photo with over 40 cadets from the Japanese Coast Guard training ship Kojima during their visit to Guam on June 12, 2024. The event marked a significant moment of international cooperation and camaraderie between the two maritime services. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Josiah Moss)
June 17, 2024 - The U.S. Coast Guard hosted Capt. Kazushi Sakae and over 40 cadets from the Japanese Coast Guard training ship, Kojima, during their visit to Guam on June 12, 2024...