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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The U.S. Air Force in South Korea wrapped up a weeklong readiness exercise across the peninsula Friday, one that gave airmen and Army missile soldiers a chance to hone their wartime skills.

The routinely scheduled exercise emphasized combat readiness and involved airmen at Osan and Kunsan air bases and at smaller Air Force compounds at South Korean air bases in Suwon, Daegu, Gimhae and Gwangju, said Lt. Col. Rene White, spokeswoman for 7th U.S. Air Force.

Also taking part were soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, which has its headquarters at Osan Air Base and maintains Patriot missile batteries at several locations around the peninsula.

The exercise also gave the U.S. forces a chance to work with their South Korean air force counterparts, White said. That had been especially helpful because a significant number of the South Koreans were recent arrivals to their duty stations, a result of routine rotation schedules.

Fighter pilots flew daytime and nighttime mock combat missions while ground crews practiced launching and recovering the jets. Security forces practiced repelling mock ground attacks; medical airmen rehearsed treating casualties; and civil engineer airmen practiced repairing battle-damaged runways.

At Osan, U.S. and South Korean pilots worked together practicing combat search and rescue. A-10 attack planes of Osan’s 25th Fighter Squadron flew mock air support for South Korean air force personnel who practiced rescuing a downed pilot, said Capt. John Ross, chief spokesman for the 51st Fighter Wing.

At Kunsan, U.S. and South Korean pilots and intelligence officers took part in combined mission planning, said Capt. Tiffany Payette, chief spokeswoman for Kunsan’s 8th Fighter Wing.

And for the first time at Kunsan, U.S. and South Korean pilots flew mock combat missions during a peninsula-wide readiness exercise, Payette said.

“We’ve flown together for normal training sorties” in the past, she said, “but this was the first time they’d flown together” during a readiness exercise.

In addition, Kunsan medical airmen worked for the first time with their South Korean air force counterparts in treating mock battle casualties, Payette said.

The exercise, called a PENORE, for peninsula operational readiness exercise, is held several times a year.


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