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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Reflecting lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military in South Korea is moving to step up the ways in which its air forces work with ground forces, the top U.S. Air Force officer on the peninsula said Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Wood said the Air Force also will look for more ways for its pilots to fly mock combat missions with South Korean pilots on the country’s training ranges.

Those were among issues discussed here last week during a two-day annual Air Boss conference that brought together dozens of U.S. and South Korean commanders.

Wood is commander of U.S. 7th Air Force (Air Forces Korea) and in wartime would oversee the air campaign as head of Air Component Command.

The annual conference looks at possible changes to training, operations, and how to best wage an air campaign on the peninsula, Wood said.

"We’ve learned, obviously, a lot of things from Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

One result in South Korea will be a move toward better integration between U.S. forces and South Korean ground forces, he said.

"You’ll see us working much harder in support of our ground commanders," he said.

Regarding training ranges, Wood said he’ll seek through his South Korean military counterparts to arrange more access to air-to-air ranges that allow for mock dogfights, and air-to-ground ranges where pilots can attack targets with live bombs, missiles and other weapons.

But he would said he won’t seek that access for U.S.-only training missions, but rather for those that would see U.S. and South Korean pilots training together in the same missions.

"I want to use them in conjunction with their aircraft so that we’re much more of an integrated combat team," Wood said.


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