CSAR teams kick off PAC-T 17-1

by Senior Airman Victor J. Caputo, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Stripes Korea
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Exercise Pacific Thunder 17-1 began Jan. 23, marking two weeks of combat search and rescue training across the Korean Peninsula.

Pilots from the 25th Fighter Squadron use this exercise to practice one of their primary missions: supporting and defending helicopter crews that rescue pilots and other personnel who are down behind enemy lines.

“CSAR is one of, if not the most important missions that we do in the 25th FS,” said Lt. Col. Razvan Radoescu, 25th FS commander. “Our promise to Airmen, Marines, Soldiers and Sailors that we will leave no stone unturned searching and rescuing isolated personnel is one of the main reasons that makes all our forces effective in battle, and [PAC-T] gives us the opportunity to realistically train to what we expect CSAR will look like in the Korean theater of operations.”

Teams assigned to the 31st and 33rd Rescue Squadrons from Kadena Air Base, Japan, and the ROK air force operate the recovery aspect of the missions flown in the exercise while the 25th FS provides the air support in their A-10 Thunderbolt IIs.

“The close partnership between the 25 FS, the 33rd and 31st Rescue Squadrons , our ROKAF brothers and sisters in arms and all other supporting assets makes this training opportunity very unique and, in my opinion, some of the best training in the world,” said Radoescu.

PAC-T provides 25th FS pilots the opportunity to practice a different mission set than what is typically flown out of Osan.

“Everybody in the 51st Fighter Wing needs to be ready to fight tonight; however, another aspect of our readiness as a whole is the need to support the brave Airmen who risk it all during combative engagements,” said Col. Cary Culbertson, 51st FW vice commander. “If a pilot or friendly force is shot down or evading enemies through rough terrain, we owe them everything within our capabilities to support extracting them swiftly and returning them home safely.”

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