Thursday, August 4, 2011
Osan's "Assam Draggins" light 'em up
Several A-10 Thunderbolt IIs taxi out for a training mission July 15, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During RF-A 11-2, the 25th Fighter Squadron from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea took advantage of operating in the 67,000-square-mile Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and learned valuable lessons that can be applied in combat. The 25th FS A-10 pilots strive to stay proficient in providing close-air support in combat by taking advantage of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which provides the means to engage in air to ground maneuvers and expend numerous inert and live weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miguel Lara III) Hi-res
by Airman 1st Class Yash Rojas
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/2/2011 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- As one of two fighter squadrons at Osan Air Base in the Republic of Korea, the 25th Fighter Squadron "Assam Draggins" has fully captured the significance of utilizing the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex to overcome restrictions of the Korean Peninsula, including weather and congested airspace.
The 25th FS A-10 pilots strive to stay proficient in providing close-air support in combat situations by taking advantage of the JPARC, which provides the means to engage in live-fire air to ground maneuvers and weapons delivery exercises.
By presenting pilots with multiple challenges in the JPARC, the 25th FS can properly exploit the heavy armament and weaponry the A-10 brings to combat and comply with training requirements.
"It really helps our guys take care of annual requirements," said Lt. Col. Tim Sumja, 25th FS commander. "We have different types of weapon deliveries that must be performed during specific scenarios every year. Overall, it increases our pilots' proficiency with different weapon systems and weapon deliveries."
Members of the 25th FS rely heavily on live-fire training areas so pilots, especially those with less-experience, can remain battle ready using the experience training with live munitions provides.
According to Colonel Sumja, the 25th FS has participated in RED FLAG-Alaska 11-2 as well as Distant Frontier both before and after RF-A 11-2. At the end of these aerial combat training exercises, the majority of Osan A-10 pilots will have completed an average of 12 to 14 sorties, providing the A-10 unit more than 60-percent of its annual readiness requirements.
Much of the training performed at Eielson is not easily completed in Korea. Because of congested airspace and limited air-to-ground ranges with numerous ordnance restrictions , it is often a struggle for Osan's A-10 pilots to complete their necessary training from home station.
According to Capt. Joel Bier, 25th FS chief of weapons and tactics, there are only two military training ranges in Korea. Neither is as robust as the JPARC, whose three impact target areas provide an opportunity for live-fire training with the A-10s' weapons capabilities weighing more than 500-lbs each.
"Pilots get feedback from real targets and ammunition," said Captain Bier. "It's much more realistic training than they get in Korea where they have to train dry or without anything on the jet in terms of live munitions."
"It's the same mission, but with immediate feedback," he added.
Historical footnote: The 25th Fighter Squadron flew its first aerial combat mission over "the Hump" on Sept. 25, 1942, flying a combat escort mission. After the squadron moved to Dinjan in Assam, India, combat activity increased. It was there that the 25th picked up the name "Assam Draggins."
Two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs exit the taxiway July 15, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. At the end of aerial Distant Frontier and RED FLAG-ALASKA 11-2, the majority of A-10 pilots Osan, Air Base Republic of Korea, will have completed an average of 12 to 14 sorties, providing the A-10 unit more than 60-percent of its annual readiness aircrew program requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miguel Lara III) Hi-res
An A-10 Thunderbolt II lands on the runway July 15, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Much of the training performed at Eielson is not easily completed by the 25th Fighter Squadron from Osan, Republic of Korea, making large combat training exerices like RED FLAG-Alaska and Distant Frontier critical in helping meet qualifications for A-10 pilots. By presenting pilots with multiple challenges in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the 25th FS can properly exploit the heavy armament and weaponry the A-10 brings to combat and comply with annual training requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miguel Lara III) Hi-res