Closing the numerical gap with training, combat edge, teamwork

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kyle Bressette
  • 8th Operations Group
Every day the Wolf Pack is charged with the responsibility of deterring North Korean aggression, and if called, defeating the world's fourth largest military.

The demand our commander in chief places upon the professionalism and capability of U.S. Forces Korea, to include the Wolf Pack, is such that less than 30,000 military members on the Korean peninsula are asked to serve as the deterrence cornerstone against North Korea's military of nearly 1.2 million.

On paper, the gap in numerical strength makes the charge appear impossible. However, no one, including our adversary, second-guesses the Wolf Pack's ability to accomplish this mission. Why? The reasons the Wolf Pack is an unmistakable cornerstone to the freedom and democracy on the Korean peninsula are numerous, but I offer three fundamental reasons why we are successful at deterrence.

First, we train for the fight! The Pacific Air Forces Inspector General rated Kunsan "Excellent" because of the Wolf Pack's ability to deliver an accurate demonstration of our true combat power. When the IG departed, our adversary did not. The difference in wording initially appears insignificant, but there is a significant distinction between "training as we fight" and "training for the fight." Training "as" we fight implies mimicking the threat to prepare for a future mission. Kunsan trains "for" the fight; the threat on the Korean peninsula requires no stand-in or stunt double. The defense of South Korea is a 24/7 mission and our daily training is conducted simultaneously while maintaining our ability to "take the fight North."

Second, we recognize maintaining a combat edge is serious business. Failure to match our contracted combat capability has a significant effect on our ability to overcome the adversary's numerical advantage. Since the armistice signed in 1953, U.S. Forces Korea estimates there have been more than 1,400 major provocations and Demilitarized Zone violations. In these provocations, 90 U.S. service members and more than 400 members of the Republic of Korea have lost their lives. The numbers speak for themselves! The reality is the conflict has never ceased and the volatility of conditions demands constant readiness to execute with limited warning. We must never forget the importance our combat edge has in the deterrence of a determined and capable adversary.

Finally, our combined efforts as a team multiplies our combat capabilities beyond any effect generated by sheer numbers. Teamwork in the Wolf Pack is two-tiered. The first tier starts at the workplace by generating combat capabilities as part of a shop, crew or office. Teamwork does not stop at the end of the work day, but extends to ensuring friends and coworkers are making safe and smart decisions off duty as well. The numerical gap is already significant; losing the combat capability of a member due to careless decisions is unacceptable. The second tier is the cooperation and teamwork among the entire Wolf Pack. Each of our specialties and focus areas is interdependent and allows the presence of thousands to deter millions.

Training for the fight with unparalleled excellence and maintaining the combat edge through continued dedication and focus as a team is what transforms the numerical disadvantage we face into a significant combat advantage. The Wolf Pack's unwavering dedication to deliver the very best every day is known by our adversary and is a primary reason Kunsan is a cornerstone for peace and security in the region.