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Massive exercise kicks-off in Korea

Photo: Exercise 'Vigilant Ace 18' in full flow at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, December 3. USAF/SSgt Franklin R. Ramos


Amid huge tensions in the region, A-10Cs, F-15Cs, F-16Cs, F-22As, F-35As, and B-1Bs have launched a huge exercise alongside the Republic of Korea Air Force in ‘Vigilant Ace 18’ at Osan and Gwangju Air Bases. The week-long exercise involves 12,000 US personnel including Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps personnel and 230 aircraft.

‘In the event we need to help defend our 51 million Korean allies, I need to be sure the 51st Fighter Wing is synchronized with the Combined-Joint force,’ said Col William D. Betts, 51st FW commander. ‘Vigilant Ace is an opportunity for us to do just that; focus on getting smarter, faster and more capable than we were yesterday while we generate combat airpower and strengthen the alliance.’

‘The threat here on the peninsula is very real, and countering that threat needs to be in the forefront of our minds,’ said Betts. ‘My biggest expectation for the Wing is to remove any ‘exercise’ mindset from the equation and maximize the realism of every response. We will ensure we have no regrets if we find ourselves executing contingency operations.’

A F-22 Raptor lands at Gwangju Air Base, Republic of Korea, December 2. USAF/SrA Jessica H. Smith

F-15Cs from Kadena Air Base, Japan, taxi at Gwangju Air Base, Republic of Korea, December 1. USAF/SrA Jessica H. Smith


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