U.S./ROK air defenders meet to tighten alliance, share knowledge
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea -- Soldiers from 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade convened with the Republic of Korea Air Force's air defenders for the 2014 Technology Exchange Workshop Oct. 30 at the ROK Air Missile Defense Command headquarters.
The event began with a formal discussion led by Lt. Col. Jefferey Slown of the 94th Army Missile Defense Command and Col. Kyung Sun Song of the ROKAF AMDC . The session featured top Patriot missile system maintenance experts from the U.S and ROK militaries.
"Tech exchanges like the one conducted today with our ROKAF AMDC Patriot maintainers are important in establishing and implementing effective combined maintenance procedures," Slown said. "As the ROKAF continues on course to purchase, field, and operate PAC-3 Patriot systems, it is important that we share the maintenance lessons that we have learned in order to ensure their new equipment remains ready to 'Fight Tonight' across the peninsula."
Next, the ROK treated their U.S. partners to a catered lunch at the ROK Officer's Club, continuing the exchange discussion over Korean cuisine. The day continued with a combined preventive maintenance inspection on a Patriot missile launcher at Delta Battery, 6-52 Air and Missile Defense's motorpool.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Issac Smith Jr., the 35th ADA Support Operations Systems/Assistance officer and a subject matter expert in Patriot Launcher maintenance, led a collaborative discussion on trends and current issues in the field of Patriot maintenance.
"As leaders, we must remember to maintain a balance between equipment maintenance and readiness training to ensure that our equipment is ready to use at a moments notice," Smith said. "It's always a great day when two countries can share and learn from one other."
The exchange took a competitive turn as U.S. Soldiers and ROK airmen squared off in a soccer competition at Mustang field. Both sides reconciled with a social hour following the soccer match cementing the friendships that were made during the exchange.
U.S. Army Capt. Blake Benedict, a battle captain assigned to 35th ADA, reflected on the effectiveness of the exchange.
"The 2014 ROK Technical Exchange was successful on two fronts," Benedict said.
"First, it allowed U.S. and ROK air defenders to share knowledge of current Patriot maintenance operations to ensure we are meeting our goals of system interoperability and readiness. Last, the U.S./ROK alliance was able to work through maintenance contract issues to streamline the ROK's ability to test their systems for faults which, in the long run, will strengthen our combined ability to respond to a viable missile threat," said Benedict.