KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea –
The sound of snow plows filled the streets of Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Dec. 3, as operational readiness exercise Beverly Bulldog 15-1 kicked off.
For the past week, the Wolf Pack has been participating in an operational readiness exercise alongside other 7 Air Force units and ROKAF 38th Fighter Group Airmen, testing their combined strength and readiness.
Not only did Airmen test wartime skills they don't practice during normal armistice conditions, but they also had to perform while enduring the extreme cold with more than 40 inches of snow accumulating throughout the exercise.
Near the start of the exercise, when snowfall was the highest, Col. Ken "Wolf" Ekman, 8th Fighter Wing commander, said he was asked by many people what he would do differently in combat under this extreme weather.
"We would have done nothing differently," said Wolf. "We are going to defend our base, return our installation to some sort of operating status, and then when weather enables us, we are going to generate and fly aircraft."
During the exercise, Kunsan Airmen demonstrated their ability to complete the mission in various combat environments and scenarios.
Wolf Pack defenders defended the base by providing extra building protection and manning all defense fighting positions during simulated ground attack scenarios.
"I got excited when I heard the ground attack alarms go off," said Airman 1st Class Evan Rios, 8th Security Forces augmentee. "This cold weather and snow made it extra challenging to just sit around and wait on something to happen. The sound of that alarm got my blood boiling, and I was excited for some action."
While the defenders were busy defending the base, the 8th Maintenance Group worked around the clock to generate sorties in all mission-oriented protective posture levels.
Staff Sgt. Cody Newell, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, said his main job for this exercise was not to just prepare the aircraft to fly, but to also generate sorties.
"The flight line was covered in snow," said Newell. "Besides the normal shoveling of snow to get the jets ready to taxi, we tried to stay nice and warm and not be out in the cold too much."
While Airmen adapted to the first snows of the season, this ORE also redefined how the Wolf Pack works with ROKAF during exercises.
For the first time, 38 FG Airmen joined 8 FW leadership in the Emergency Operations Center, providing a critical linkage between the two organizations and highlighting how Kunsan fights as one single installation instead of two teams.
"ROKAF's presence in the EOC meant a lot for both 8 FW and 38 FG," said 1st Lt Joo Jung Ho, 38 FG interpreter. "We always boast of our ability to fight together and win, so this was our opportunity to test ourselves. The only way to improve our coordination is to do more combined exercises. This is the only way to sharpen our combined skills."
During BB 15-1, Airmen repeatedly practiced multiple wartime scenarios to hone in their skills in areas they don't get to practice during normal day-to-day operations, said Wolf. This, in turn, makes the Wolf Pack stronger and better prepared to face its adversaries.
"I really appreciate the strong team effort Airmen gave during Beverly Bulldog 15-1," Wolf said. "The weather has been very difficult, but I couldn't be more proud of how the Wolf Pack handled it. We are truly ready to fight tonight."