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NEWS | Nov. 18, 2014

Kunsan Hosts Exercise Max Thunder 15-1

By Senior Airman Divine Cox 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft are training with Republic of Korea Air Force units in the semi-annual, bilateral training exercise, Max Thunder 15-1, at Kunsan AB, Nov. 14 to 22.
Exercise Max Thunder 15-1 consists of more than 1,300 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines working alongside elements of the ROKAF to conduct exercise scenarios simulating combined flying operations against hostile forces.
U.S. forces are jointly coordinating with ROK air forces personnel on all aspects of training including planning, large force employment tactics, and debriefing for the largest flying exercise held on the Korean Peninsula.

"Max Thunder exercises give us the opportunity to sharpen our joint and combined capabilities with our ROK allies," said Col. Ken "Wolf" Ekman, 8th Fighter Wing commander and Max Thunder 15-1 Expeditionary Force commander. "By improving our interoperability in these challenging scenarios, ROK and U.S. pilots will be ready to fight as an effective team in any contingency."

Aircraft, equipment and personnel deployed to Kunsan AB in support of Max Thunder 15-1 are joining the Wolf Pack and ROKAF 38th Fighter Group from units both on and off the peninsula, including: 12th Marine Aircraft Group F/A-18 Hornets; U.S. 7th Fleet EA-18G Growlers; 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Patriots; and ROKAF F-15Ks, KF-16s, F-5s and F-4's.

"Accepting follow-on forces represents a vital mission element for Kunsan AB," said Wolf. "Hosting Max Thunder allows us to practice these skills as we bed down large numbers of aircraft and people, then generate a high volume of sorties shortly after their arrival."

Similar in size to U.S.-hosted Red Flag exercises, Max Thunder supports mission commander training and exposes younger pilots to large-scale, high-threat flying in a peacetime environment. This exposure helps younger pilots be more successful and survivable in their first actual combat missions, said Wolf.

"The ROK and U.S. alliance is one of the longest standing alliances in modern history," said Wolf. "Max Thunder exercises serve to strengthen our combined readiness and strengthen the close relationships between the military forces of our two nations."

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