Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hornets nest in 'Draggins'' lair

by Staff Sgt. Gena Armstrong and Staff Sgt. Eric Burks
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/7/2011 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- F-18 Hornets are a rare sight on the flightline here, but for three weeks, Osan's 25th Fighter Squadron - the "Assam Draggins" - hosted U.S. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 225 from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The squadron was visiting Osan AB as part of a six-month deployment to bases across the Pacific, which provided a unique training opportunity.

Cpl. Loper Ryan, F-18 Hornet captain, said, "We get to work with different forces, work in difference environments and learn new things. We get to see what the jets can handle in different climates and places."

"If anything was to happen and we needed to go anywhere," he said, "we'd know we were ready to go."

The Marines worked with Airmen of the 25th FS, practicing close air support missions that frequently take place in deployed environments. The training allowed the Marine pilots to become more familiarized with the differences of working with Air Force pilots.

Maj. Ivan Kanapathy, VMFA-225 maintenance officer, said some of the differences were philosophical, but most related to tactical execution - differences such as aircraft performance, types of ordnances carried and type of attacks conducted.

"It's real good exposure, especially for the young guys in the squadron that haven't maybe seen it before, because it's a real world mission that we're going to have to be able to execute when combat occurs," the major said. "We're going to need to be able to work with these guys very closely so it's good for us."

The squadron's deployment was Major Kanapathy's third time visiting different military installations in the Pacific.

"We were down at Kadena for about a month and this past December during this deployment we got to work with some of the Eagles down there quite a bit. So this is a little bit unique because the A-10s are a little rare," he said. "Typically back home and when we're on deployment we'll work with F-16s pretty often but the A-10s not as much as we'd like to."

With their visit to Osan complete, the squadron departed for MCAS Iwakuni, where they will wait for the next trip to a new station and new opportunities to train alongside fellow Americans of a different service.

"It's been a great three weeks," said Major Kanapathy. "The 25th Fighter Squadron [Airmen] were great hosts and we appreciate everything they've done with us. Overall it was great training and a really good experience."


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