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615th CRW members support Ulchi Freedom Guardian in South Korea

by Capt. Paradon Silpasornprasit
615th Contingency Response Wing

9/3/2009 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Members of the 15th Air Mobility Operations Squadron here traveled to South Korea to support the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise on Aug. 17 through 28.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a computerized command and control exercise.

The 15th AMOS trains to respond to contingency operations in the Pacific theater, specializing in the war plans, contingency operations and cultural nuances unique to that area of the world. A team of 36 Airmen from the 15th AMOS honed their skills in support of the defense of South Korea.

"We are a deployable force that can depart within 12 to 24 hours to provide a capability," said Lt. Col. Jay Junkins, the 15th AMOS commander and the daytime deputy air mobility division chief for the combined air mobility division during the exercise.

In this case, that capability was command and control of U.S. airlift assets on the Korean Peninsula. The 15th AMOS is a specialized unit that provides command and control at the operational level, whereas the 615th Contingency Response Wing specializes in the more tactical portions of a mission.

"We're controlling all the airlift flow that's coming into our (area of responsibility)," Colonel Junkins said. "There are really three core competencies that we provide -- air mobility, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation."

"By doing these exercises we are honing our skills to make us that much better at execution," said Lt. Col. Rico Telles, the 15th AMOS director of operations and nighttime deputy air mobility division chief at Ulchi Freedom Guardian. "I would contend that we would do very well in a real-world scenario."

During the exercise, Colonel Telles worked with their South Korean air force counterparts in the combined air mobility division. "You have (South Korean) air force airlift planners sitting next to U.S. airlift planners and that way you're geographically combined, which helps that coordination."

The armistice between the United States and the South Korea facilitates U.S. Airmen working side-by-side with South Korean air force personnel.

Senior Airman Edward Jones of the 15th AMOS, supported the air tasking order integration mission during Ulchi Freedom Guardian. He supported the daily flying schedule by importing aircraft data into a system that provided all other military services on the peninsula with visibility on Air Force aircraft such as the C-5 Galaxies, C-17 Globemaster IIIs, and C-130 Hercules aircraft transporting cargo in and out of theater.

During the exercise, Airman Jones said he installed a more advanced tracking system and was able to train a fellow Airman on how to operate it.

"It was great for training purposes because when we deploy to the desert, that's what we use," he said.

This is the second year South Korean forces led the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise.

"We're there as a show of force and it's extremely important we represent in the exercise," Colonel Telles said. "Even as we work toward this transition with them being in the lead, they'll still expect us to be there because of our history. If they ever needed us to help them we could roll right in and support that if we have the assets and vice versa."

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