Buddy Squadron enhances USAF-ROKAF alliance
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- For more than 20 years, the Republic of Korea Air Force – U.S. Air Force alliance has built trust and competency by participating in a joint training event that both nations benefit from annually.
The Buddy Squadron Program, formerly known as the Buddy Wing program, brings USAF and ROKAF units together to improve mission focus in a joint environment. The training also gives participants a chance to introduce and review tactics, as well as exchange ideas.
F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots, maintenance technicians and support personnel from the 8th Fighter Wing participated in the most recent Buddy Squadron training, 18-3, Nov. 5 to 8 in Daegu alongside ROKAF F-15K Slam Eagles and aircrews from the 122nd Fighter Squadron.
In an effort to meet training objectives, Airmen ensured their training was effective and successful by clearly communicating their intentions and expectations despite cultural and language barriers, said Capt. Scott Neidrick, 8th Operational Support Squadron training flight commander.
“Training as a joint force, we are able to share tactics, techniques and procedures for our missions,” Neidrick said. “We are given the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the capabilities of our counterparts, and learn to effectively work together to defend South Korea.”
During the training, pilots conducted maneuvers to improve interoperability and tactical effectiveness while building trust and fostering cultural relations to ensure a stronger alliance.
“Everyone we worked with, both U.S. Air Force and ROKAF personnel, were very professional and high-caliber,” Neidrick said. “They were all very knowledgeable in their professions; we all have a desire to learn to be more effective.”
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 35th Fighter Squadron, taxis on the runway at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, after returning from Buddy Squadron 18-3 in Daegu, Republic of Korea, Nov. 8, 2018. U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots from the 8th Fighter Wing and Republic of Korea Air Force F-15K Slam Eagle pilots from the 122nd Fighter Squadron trained to improve interoperability and tactical effectiveness, while fostering cultural relations to ensure a strong alliance.