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13th, 14th Fighter Squadrons swap locations

Three F-16 Fighting Falcons from Misawa Air Base, Japan sit under sunshades at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. While deployed to Kunsan, the 14th Fighter Squadron have flown joint offensive counter-air, defensive counter-air and suppression of enemy air defenses – the primary capability at Misawa AB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

Three F-16 Fighting Falcons from Misawa Air Base, Japan sit under sunshades at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. While deployed to Kunsan, the 14th Fighter Squadron flew joint offensive counter-air, defensive counter-air and suppression of enemy air defenses – the primary capability at Misawa AB. While the 14th FS starts its training in Eielson, the 13th Fighter Squadron arrived to Kunsan this weekend to begin their own training at the new location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Evan Wilcox, a 35th Maintenance Group dedicated crew chief, removes chalks from a F-16 Fighting Falcon's tires at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. Wilcox is responsible for ensuring every component of the F-16 Fighting Falcon is maintained to the highest standards, making sure it is ready to fly at a moment’s notice so that pilots can safely and effectively complete their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Evan Wilcox, a 35th Maintenance Group dedicated crew chief, removes chalks from a F-16 Fighting Falcon's tires at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. Wilcox is responsible for ensuring every component of the F-16 Fighting Falcon is maintained to the highest standards, making sure it is ready to fly at a moment’s notice so that pilots can safely and effectively complete their mission. The 14th Fighter Squadron departed for Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, but Wilcox will remain in Kunsan to welcome the 13th Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from Misawa Air Base, Japan taxis, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. While deployed to Kunsan, the 14th Fighter Squadron have flown joint offensive counter-air, defensive counter-air and suppression of enemy air defenses – the primary capability at Misawa AB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from Misawa Air Base, Japan taxis at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. While deployed to Kunsan, the 14th Fighter Squadron flew joint offensive counter-air, defensive counter-air and suppression of enemy air defenses – the primary capability at Misawa AB. The 14th FS is now in Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, while the 13th Fighter Squadron begins its training at Kunsan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Evan Wilcox, a 35th Maintenance Group dedicated crew chief, holds up the 14th Fighter Squadron "wood" symbol while a pilot taxis at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. Wilcox had to trouble shoot an issue on the aircraft that required a pilot to test the system, ensuring it worked properly once repaired. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Evan Wilcox, a 35th Maintenance Group dedicated crew chief, holds up the 14th Fighter Squadron "wood" symbol while a pilot taxis at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. Wilcox had to trouble shoot an issue on the aircraft that required a pilot to test the system, ensuring it worked properly once repaired. Although the 14th FS left for Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Wilcox remains in Kunsan to welcome the 13th Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from Misawa Air Base, Japan taxis back to its spot after a maintenance check at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. While deployed to Kunsan, the 14th FS have flown joint offensive counter-air, defensive counter-air and suppression of enemy air defenses – the primary capability at Misawa AB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from Misawa Air Base, Japan taxis back to its spot after a maintenance check at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 19, 2017. While deployed to Kunsan, the 14th FS flew joint offensive counter-air, defensive counter-air and suppression of enemy air defenses – the primary capability at Misawa AB. The 13th Fighter Squadron swapped out with the 14th FS last weekend to begin its training at Kunsan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Pilots with the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons, assigned to Misawa Air Base, swapped out temporary duty locations after a month spent at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, respectively, May 26, 2017.

Due to routine flight line maintenance, planned years in advance, the 35th Fighter Wing has remotely operated from these locations for the past three-weeks and will continue until the beginning of July.

“Overall, this temporary duty location [Kunsan] has been business as usual for daily operations, with the exception of it giving us a great opportunity to practice how we would operate in a combat environment,” said Lt. Col. Paul Schultz, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander.

Being in Kunsan AB allowed 14th FS pilots and maintainers to forge friendships and hone skills by integrating tactically with their Pacific partners.

"Training with the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons during the runway construction has allowed us to demonstrate our ability to operate and excel from any location,” said Lt. Col. Mark Heusinkveld, 14th FS detachment commander. “Deploying to Kunsan Air Base was a great opportunity for two Pacific Air Forces units to strengthen combat capabilities together, as well as ensure and demonstrate security and stability throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”

Heusinkveld continued on to rave that the 35th Fighter Wing’s dedication and support to enhance combat readiness is second to none, whether at home or TDY.

“As the 14th pilots time here in Kunsan comes to an end, we are prepared to make the transition to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska for RED FLAG-Alaska 17-3,” said Heusinkveld. “During our tenure at RF-A 17-3, our pilots will be subjected to a wide variety of imitation combat threats. This will give the pilots a chance to fly missions providing joint suppression of enemy air defenses, offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment.”

RF-A 17-3 is a training exercise aimed to help improve combat readiness and multinational interoperability among participating bases.


“The 14th FS will continually show a strong F-16 Fighting Falcon SEAD presence as we transition to Eielson,” added Heusinkveld. “Integrating with multiple airframes in Alaska will help pilots forge combat capabilities and utilize unique training opportunities they may not get while at home station.”

Even though the 14th FS will be going out the door, the 35th Maintenance group maintainers will remain at Kunsan AB, maintaining aircraft for the 13th FS pilots.

Switching out the 14th FS with the 13th FS allows them to meet new people, learn new faces and for pilots to see new maintainers,” Schultz said. “This is yet another demonstration of these maintainers showing their tenacity and flexibility to get the job done no matter who they’re putting up in the air. It’s really a great opportunity to see the professionalism across the board between the squadrons.”

Throughout the time at Kunsan, the Airmen with the 35th FW have worked with the 8th FW seamlessly, ensuring mission success across the board.

We have had outstanding support from the 8th FW thus far,” said Schultz. “The few things that we needed here and there, they’ve been ready and willing to step up and offer any assistance, and in return we offer assistance as well. As we move forward and continue our time here, we look forward to continuing this partnership with one of our PACAF partners.”