Kunsan wraps up Max Thunder 16

by Senior Airman Ashley Gardner
Kunsan Air Base

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the 8th Fighter Wing “Wolf Pack” at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, tested their tactical air combat capabilities alongside joint and bilateral partners in the region the last two weeks for Exercise Max Thunder 16, which wraps up today.

Exercise Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program to enhance interoperability between U.S. and ROK forces.

These exercises highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between two nations, help to ensure security on the Korean Peninsula, and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to stability in the Northeast Asia region.

“Max Thunder trains allied air forces to quickly generate overwhelming air power, under realistic conditions, that can defeat any threat to the Republic of Korea,” said Lt. Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, 7th Air Force commander.

Approximately 3,400 U.S. personnel participated in Max Thunder 16 along with about 600 ROK service members. The exercise involved more than 100 aircraft from the peninsula and the Pacific region.

“This is definitely the biggest exercise that we do in the course of the year for us as well as the ROKAF,” Capt. Brady Augustin, 35th Fighter Squadron B-flight commander.

The exercise tested Kunsan’s ability to accept follow-on forces and operate alongside dissimilar aircraft in a high operations-tempo climate. An average of more than 130 sorties were launched per day during the exercise. Training focused on air-to-air and air-to-ground operations and tested allied air forces’ ability to quickly generate airpower at a moment’s notice.  

“U.S. military aircraft come to Korea from across the Pacific to participate in this exercise, making this a tremendous display of the capabilities the U.S. brings to this alliance,” said O'Shaughnessy. “Max Thunder helps strengthen and transform the U.S and Republic of Korea alliance, and the U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea remains unwavering.”

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