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NEWS | Oct. 30, 2023

Wolf Pack kicks off Vigilant Defense 24 exercise

By Capt. Kaylin P. Hankerson, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 8th Fighter Wing began participation in the Vigilant Defense 24 combined flying training event, Oct. 30. Vigilant Defense 24, a Seventh Air Force hosted, annual training event is a part of an annual, continuous training schedule designed to strengthen the U.S. Air Force and ROK Air Force Alliance.

“The Wolf Pack is always training because we never want to lose focus of our critical defend, deter, and if necessary, defeat mission,” said Col. Jeffrey D. Shulman, 8th Fighter Wing deputy commander. “Vigilant Defense is taking that always ready mentality, our ‘Fight Tonight’ focus and applying it on a much larger scale to prove we can defend the ROK alongside mission partners.”

Participation in Vigilant Defense 24 called for the Wolf Pack to energize its 14 squadrons and 2,600 personnel to enable the rapid generation of the unit’s 40 F-16 Fighting Falcons to fly sorties across the Korean Peninsula. Throughout the duration of the training event, 8th FW assets are set to integrate with various types of fighter, cargo, tanker, and reconnaissance aircraft from U.S. Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force units.

“While the training we do year-round keeps us sharp, opportunities like this to integrate our operations with international partners are truly invaluable to refining the necessary tactics, techniques and procedures that ensure the combined force can operate as one cohesive unit should we ever be called upon,” said Col. Michael G. McCarthy, 8th Operations Group commander.

Regularly scheduled, combined flying training events like Vigilant Defense 24, are designed to enhance combined and joint training and are entirely defensive in nature, not related to any current real-world threats or situations. Vigilant Defense 24 is not intended to be threatening or provocative toward any other country.

“We participate in these types of events regularly, but each one is a unique opportunity to develop our partnership and improve our ability to work together,” said McCarthy. "This continuous improvement I think speaks volumes about our ability and commitment to protect the peace, stability, and prosperity of this region.”