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NEWS | June 19, 2015

Kunsan surge operations generate 350 sorties

By Senior Airman Divine Cox 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 8th Fighter Wing tested its flying and maintenance operations during Surge Week here June 15-18.

F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots from the 35th Fighter Squadron "Pantons," 80th FS "Juvats" and the 175th FS "Lobos," deployed here from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, flew together generating over 350 sorties during the four-day event.

Surge Week tested the skills and wartime capabilities of Wolf Pack operators, maintainers and supporting agencies over a four-day window to simulate pilots' wartime flying rates.

"A collective effort from multiple units made this surge a success," said Senior Master Sgt. Benjamin Carpenter, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent. "If aircraft can't fly, the Wolf Pack can't fight."

Airmen from the 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron, the 8th AMU and the maintenance back shop quickly collaborated to keep jets airborne. The surge also tested the Airmen's ability to fix and refuel the F-16 in a short timeframe.

"This was my first time conducting hot refueling operations," said Airman 1st Class Daniel Langer, 8th LRS refueling equipment operator. "I'm amazed at how many jets we can refuel in such a short period of time. It was really exciting!"

Airmen conducted hot pit refueling to rapidly refuel each aircraft and allow it to complete a second sortie, thereby maximizing the sorties flown in a short amount of time. 

"The surge operations relied largely on the hot refueling program," said Master Sgt. Aaron Gammill, 35th AMU lead production superintendent. "We had coordination with LRS for fuel support and coordination with the wing to be able to get the fuel and trucks for this operation."

The surge operation is held twice a year with maintainers going on 12-hour shifts to ensure the heavy demands of flying and fixing aircraft are met.

"A typical day for us is a 12-hour shift," said Senior Airman Zachary Gant, 8th AMXS crew chief. "But during this surge, we were constantly launching aircraft, which kept us extremely busy; busier than normal."

Overall, Surge Week played a robust role in keeping the wing mission-ready.

"Completing over 350 sorties in four days in not an easy task," said Gammill. "This would not have been probable if it wasn't for the hard work of these dedicated Airmen."

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