Sheriff patrols the ROK sky

Base Info
Lt. Col. Erik Bruce, 8th Security Forces Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Matthew Higgins, 35th Fighter Squadron commander, taxi into a parking spot after a familiarization flight at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 18, 2013. Familiarization flights let personnel other than aircrew experience the Air Force’s flying mission first-hand, giving them a better perspective on aerial operations and how their job impacts the flying mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales)
Lt. Col. Erik Bruce, 8th Security Forces Squadron commander, and Lt. Col. Matthew Higgins, 35th Fighter Squadron commander, taxi into a parking spot after a familiarization flight at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 18, 2013. Familiarization flights let personnel other than aircrew experience the Air Force’s flying mission first-hand, giving them a better perspective on aerial operations and how their job impacts the flying mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales)

Sheriff patrols the ROK sky

by: 1st Lt. Son Lee | .
8th Fighter Wing PAO | .
published: January 03, 2014

Lt. Col. Erik Bruce, 8th Security Forces Squadron commander, also known as "Sheriff," left the ground for the sky during his first familiarization flight Dec. 18 at Kunsan Air Base, ROK.

"I've often heard the roar of jets and looked towards the sky, wondering what it must be like to work in that 'office' every day," said Bruce. "I've always had a great appreciation for what our Air Force operators and maintainers do to enable our Nation's defenses, but yesterday took it to an entirely new level for me."

Familiarization flights, or "fam flights," give personnel other than aircrew an opportunity to experience the Air Force's flying mission first-hand. These are normally scheduled training flights that allow a non-flying member to join the mission. This helps give them a better perspective on aerial operations and the role their own jobs play in the flying mission.

"Anybody can do their everyday job but they may not have a true understanding to how important it is to the pilots and their mission," said Staff Sgt. Ese Fisher, 8th Operations Support Squadron wing scheduling NCO. "It's a good tool for people to understand exactly how they impact everyday flying."

Bruce saw how his defenders protect not only the people on the base, but the flying assets as well. The flight also showcased how the F-16s on base can augment his own defense tactics through close air support.

"The actual experience confirmed two things for me ... first, it's a glorious way to spend your duty day, and second, it's an extremely demanding career choice, both mentally and physically," Bruce continued. "The total immersion from meeting flying requirements such as SERE, hanging harness, egress and physiology through to the mission pre-brief and actual flight was absolutely amazing."

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