13th Fighter Squadron to bring more jets to S. Korea
February 11, 2009
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The fighter squadron to deploy from Japan to South Korea this month will include 14 jets and about 400 airmen during its six-month tour, officials said Monday.
Last week, the Air Force said the squadron would deploy with 12 F-16 fighters, but on Monday said it had upped the number of jets to 14.
The planes and airmen of the 13th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base in Japan will spend six months in South Korea to take up the close air support role currently held by an Army Apache helicopter unit — the 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment at Camp Eagle. The regiment will move to Fort Carson, Colo., this spring.
"Our primary goal is to ensure there’s no gap in capability, which this deployment does," said Col. Mike Chandler, chief of staff of 7th Air Force (Air Forces Korea).
The F-16s to be deployed "more than provide the necessary firepower for us to defend the Republic of Korea."
The fighter squadron will be assigned a new name, yet to be announced, during its temporary deployment, 7th Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rene White said Monday.
The Air Force said that for security reasons it will not immediately disclose where in South Korea it will base the squadron.
Besides pilots, the squadron’s personnel complement will include mechanics and other support personnel.
The move will require no facilities construction to accommodate the squadron, Chandler said, but additional police may be needed to pull security duties.
After the Apache helicopter battalion moves to its new stateside home, its troops will deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, the U.S. military has said.
The Army will still have one Apache battalion in South Korea, the 4th Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, which is at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.