Wolf Pack tested during Beverly Bulldog 13-2
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
Beverly Bulldog 13-2 tested the abilities of more than 2,600 Wolf Pack members--Airmen and Soldiers, from U.S. and Republic of Korea forces--to respond to casualties and threats during a weeklong exercise, Feb. 11-15, 2013.
Scenarios including an aircraft crash, facility fires and contamination, flying and maintaining a rapid turnover of F-16 Fighting Falcons, and their general ability to survive and operate in a complex wartime environment were some of the challenges members faced.
"We cannot predict exact situations we might be called to respond to at the Wolf Pack," said Col. John W. Pearse, 8th Fighter Wing commander. "That's why we exercise a variety of scenarios that encompass defending the base and accepting follow-on-forces while knowing we may be called to take the fight north at a moment's notice."
During these exercises, base members rely on a variety of communication avenues to receive and transmit information. Maj. Andy Grab, 8th Comptroller Squadron commander, emphasized the importance of unit control centers to track alarm conditions and disseminate information to Airmen from leadership and emergency responders while also providing information on conditions and Airmen around base back to leaders.
"UCCs (Unit control centers) are integral to the success of Wolf Pack exercises as they are the command and control conduit for the wing," said Grab. "Their swift response and coordination with the EOC (emergency operation center) ensures alert notifications are communicated across the base and emergency procedures are immediately put into action."
"This vital flow of information ensures wing leadership has visibility on the entire base. Should we have to fight tonight, our UCC's validate our wing's capability to (complete our mission)."
While unit control centers are important, that is not the only way members receive information. American Forces Network-Korea broadcasts radio transmissions which are repeated on closed-circuit television pumped throughout buildings and dorms, and the 8th Fighter Wing's command post makes giant-voice announcements and sends email notifications to cover other communication lines.
Kunsan's 'Cyber Warriors' play a big role in a variety of communication efforts.
"We maintain and monitor all communication media across the base enabling communication and C2 (command and control) for the 8th FW," said Maj. Ray Champion, 8th Communications Squadron commander. He added these systems are not just a priority during exercise, but also for daily operations.
A central purpose of these exercises is to test the 8th Fighter Wing's ability to respond to wartime scenarios. This includes all facets of the base mission, which is to: 'Defend the base, accept follow-on forces,' and when all else fails, 'take the fight north .' The base mission is part of the greater 7th Air Forces mission to 'Deter. Defend. Defeat.'
Part of defending the base includes a host of force-protection initiatives accomplished around the clock.
"With the amount of training security forces receives prior to these exercises, we are prepared to deal with any scenario," said Tech. Sergeant Venessa Brown, 8th Security Forces Squadron. "Regardless of the time, terrain and weather, the defenders at Kunsan are always prepared to protect the pack."
Another important element in defending the base is keeping them healthy or treating any injuries. The 8th Medical Group staff takes care of exercise scenarios as well as any illness or injury that might occur to members while participating in exercise events.
"The men and women of the 8th Medical Group have a critical role in preparing the Airmen of the Wolf Pack to fight tonight," said Col. Jill Scheckel, 8th Medical Group commander. "Our focus is on sustaining and enhancing performance of the human weapon system. Readiness underlies everything we do." She added the Airmen did a great job in responding to mass casualty injuries and demonstrating their ability to survive and operate in a simulated wartime environment.
Furthermore, the logistical elements of both exercising and maintaining real-world capabilities simultaneously would not be possible without Airmen from the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, the 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and the 8th Force Support Squadron.
"The Red Devils--military and mission-essential civilian personnel--provided critical firefighting, emergency management, explosive-ordinance disposal, shelter management, airfield management repair, and expedient maintenance and repair required to keep the base infrastructure and facilities operational," said Lt. Col. Deron Frailie, 8th CES commander. "The team effort required to accomplish all these tasks, while Herculean, could not have been accomplished without the essential augmentees from both the 8th MDG and 8th CS. It truly is a team Wolf Pack effort to support taking the fight north."
Senior Master Sgt. Travis Goodman, 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron said logistics Airmen provide a variety of support prior to and during exercise conditions.
"As Airmen arrive at Kunsan, we issue their IPE (individual protective equipment) gear. That's priority one for exercising and responding if there is a chemical attack threat." He added LRS Airmen also maintain a fleet of vehicles and transport Wolf Pack members during exercise conditions and daily operations; and they provide vital support to the Wolf Pack through movement of personnel and cargo on to and off of the peninsula.
"During exercises, we practice our ability to track and receive Airmen. We also exercise receiving supplies of all kinds to support the on-going Wolf Pack mission," Goodman said.
Responsible for maintaining base support while also exercising the Wolf Pack's ability to 'accept follow-on forces,' the 8th Force Support Squadron deals with everything from issuing Meals Ready to Eat to mortuary and casualty affairs.
"Force support Airmen are multi-faceted to do casualty reports, search for and possibly process human remains and still make sure everyone is accounted for and has a place to sleep," said Maj. Karalyne Lowery, 8th Force Support Squadron. "I am proud of how the FSS Airmen accomplished their jobs despite the variety of new and persistent scenarios this exercise."
Col. James Sturgeon, 8th Operations Group commander, said that ultimately, if the 8th Fighter Wing is called to 'take the fight north,' the 8th Maintenance Group and the 8th Operations Group exercise their ability to generate sorties, maintain a rigorous aircraft maintenance schedule, and destroy priority targets during exercises of this nature. The 8th OG in coordination with the 8th MXG generated and flew more than 160 sorties in support of Beverly Bulldog 13-2.
While Airmen in the 8th MXG generate aircraft routinely, their ability is scrutinized during exercises of this kind where aircraft are needed at a rapid rate.
"Our pilots and maintainers continue to impress me with their teamwork and unity of effort in one of the most strenuous conditions possible," said Col. Ray Lindsay, 8th MXG commander. "Our continued focus and team work only guarantees the 8th FW's ability to wreak havoc upon our adversaries."
Colonel Pearse expressed his pride in leading the Wolf Pack and said the general sense of urgency and ability of Kunsan Airmen to maintain their readiness is not just important, but essential.
"The Wolf Pack is here to deter enemy aggression and to help defend the Korean peninsula alongside our Republic of Korea partners," said Pearse. "We continue to routinely exercise our abilities and maintain our readiness to fight tonight."