Three F-16 squadrons conducted a simulated wartime surge operation at Kunsan AB, South Korea, launching a combined 350 sorties in four days, announced base officials. Along with F-16s from the resident 35th Fighter Squadron and 80th FS, aircraft deployed from the South Dakota Air National Guard’s 175th FS in Sioux Falls took part in the exercise, states Kunsan’s release. Pilots and maintainers sustained the combat operational tempo with quick-turn launches and hot-pit refueling June 15-18. Approximately 250 ANG pilots, maintainers, and support personnel from Sioux Falls’ 114th Fighter Wing deployed to Kunsan in May as part of a theater security package to support Pacific Air Forces. This rotation replaced F-16s from the Colorado ANG’s 140th FW that arrived at Kunsan in February from Buckley Air Force Base.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.