Crew chiefs crush 'em at Buddy Wing 15-6

by Senior Airman Divine Cox, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Kunsan Air Base

JUNGWON AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen from the 80th Aircraft Maintenance Unit worked around the clock to keep F-16 Fighting Falcons finely tuned and flying on schedule alongside the ROK Air Force's 19th Fighter Wing at Jungwon Air Base during Buddy Wing 15-6 July 7 to 10.

"My sole job is to make sure our jets are flying," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Heber, 80th AMU crew chief. "If our jets are not in the air flying, then we can't train with our ROKAF partners."

Buddy Wing is part of a combined fighter exchange program designed to improve interoperability between USAF and ROKAF fighter squadrons.

These exercises are conducted multiple times throughout the year in order to promote cultural awareness and sharpen combined combat capabilities.

"Buddy Wing gave our young Airmen the opportunity to deploy for a few days and see what it's like working with a minimal support structure," said Master Sgt. David Batterson, 80th AMU production superintendent. "These Airmen did a great job at adapting and working on the fly."

During flying operations, Wolf Pack pilots coordinated with 19th FS pilots on all aspects of training including mission planning, briefing, flying and debriefing.

"While the pilots were in briefings, we were getting the jets ready for sorties," said Airman First 1st Class Dakota Housley, 80th FS crew chief. "We are the first and last person to see the jets before they're in the air."

Housley said this was his first time deployed while here at Kunsan, and he really enjoyed the opportunity to work with ROKAF Airmen.

"At the end of the day, the aircraft is our responsibility," said Housley. "I only had an opportunity to work with one ROKAF member [during this deployment], and even though we are from two different cultures, we all want the same result: the pilots to return back safe."

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