By Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/25/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Two Republic of Korea Air Force KA-1 Woongbi forward air control aircraft pilots flew to Osan Air Base to train with their U.S. counterparts May 23-25.
Aptly named the Buddy Wing program, these ROKAF pilots from the 237th Tactical Control Squadron at Seoul Air Base conduct bilateral training with the U.S. Air Force a few times a year, explained 1st Lt. Dustin Merritt, 25th Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot.
For this scenario, the Korean pilots flew alongside A-10 pilots from the 25th Fighter Squadron for forward air control airborne missions. "For this mission, the KA-1s communicated with the guys on the ground and the A-10s were used as the fighters," he said. "The purpose of this program is for us to exchange ideas and share tactics in operability between Air Force and ROKAF fighter squadrons."
Interactions like this Buddy Wing event, place the ROKAF pilots in the same briefings and flying rules as U.S. pilots, which is all a part of working together as a combined force.
"The best part about training with the Koreans is getting to know them and interacting with them," said Merritt. "We get to learn from each other, and it's a great experience."
The language barrier can pose a challenge, he explained, but translators were used during the training. For the most part, they train and fight for a common goal to protect and defend the Republic of Korea.
See slideshow for photos of KA-1 aircraft arrival to Osan Air Base.
Please note: At the moment, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs didn't release any related A-10C shot.