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Hornets swarm Osan

by 1st Lt. Stacie N. Shafran
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/9/2004 - OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFPN)  -- A nest of Hornets has invaded the sky here and local aircrews say they could not be more excited.

A joint training mission is under way. Sailors are flying F/A-18 Hornets and EA-6B Prowlers with the Airmen in A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 25th Fighter Squadron and F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 36th FS based here.

The exercise is the largest training event of its kind ever held at Osan, officials said.

The Hornet squadrons came to Osan from different locations. Fighter Attack Squadron 195 is from the USS Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier based out of Atsugi, Japan. Fighter Attack Squadron 97 is based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, as is the participating Prowler unit, Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 142.

"This is the first time in (more than) 10 years that a Navy squadron has gone on a (deployment) and this is also the first time most of the people in our squadron have been in Korea," said Navy Lt. Jim Legeman, a Hornet pilot.

While here, he said they plan on doing simulated strikes coordinated with the F-16s and the A-10s using the strengths of each.

Training like this also enhances teamwork between the services and helps to build a foundation for future situations, he said.

"In any large conflict, like what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, the theater is going to be filled with air assets from the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force," Lieutenant Legeman said. "It's good for us to practice beforehand so we can work out any difficulties there may be prior to fighting a conflict together."

Overall, this is a hands-on opportunity for everyone involved to practice the skills of their trade, the pilots said.

"Not only is this exercise establishing a foundation with the Navy for future training, but it's giving our A-10 pilots exposure on air-to-ground and air-to-air maneuvers with another service, something that they may not normally receive," said Lt. Col. Bruce McClintock, 25th FS commander.

During his time here, Lieutenant Legeman and other Hornet pilots are telling the Airmen about their strike-fighter's performance and capabilities.

"Our goal is to increase our sister services' knowledge about our aircraft so if the Hornet ever shows up in their strike packages, they'll know our assets and what we can bring to the fight," Lieutenant Legeman said.

By the end of the training, officials said the Sailors and Airmen will have gained valuable insight into how each service performs a variety of missions.

"This a great test of our ability to integrate with follow-on forces," said Lt. Col. Mark DeLong, 36th FS operations officer. "Throughout these two weeks, we will fly every one of our core missions with our Navy and Marine brothers and sisters right at our side. In short, this is a rare training opportunity that will serve to make us even more ready and lethal."

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