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Key Resolve/Foal Eagle - 2010

Nearly 60 years after the start of the Korean War, Airmen from across the globe have converged upon Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, to augment manning at the Korea Air and Space Operations Center in support of Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored Exercise Key Resolve '10.

The Airmen deployed to Osan for Key Resolve joined the members of the 607th Air and Space Operations Center, the USAF unit that, along with the Republic of Korea Air Force, comprises the KAOC core staff. During KR, members of the 607 AOC, augmentees and the ROKAF refine their skills in planning and executing air combat operations - skills that are vital to the defense of the ROK.

The KAOC is the senior command and control element of the Air Component Command and is comprised of five divisions: Combat Operations, Combat Plans, Strategy, Air Mobility, as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. Each of these functions is comprised of a combined staff of both ROK and U.S. Airmen. Additionally, since air combat operations have a wide-ranging impact beyond just the ROKAF and USAF, the KAOC is also manned with ROK and U.S. liaisons representing the Ground Component Command, Naval Component Command, Marine Component Command, Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force and Combined Psychological Operations Task Force.

"24-hours a day, 365-days a year, U.S. Airmen sit side-by-side with our Korean Air Force brethren," said Col. John Marselus, 607 AOC commander. "On a daily basis we not only enforce the armistice that was signed in 1953, but we also stand prepared to defeat future aggression. Key Resolve provides a prime opportunity to hone our skills even more by bringing in our total-force augmentees - active duty, guard and reserve - further strengthening the ROK-U.S. alliance and solidifying our combined and joint ability to defend the region from any form of aggression."

Clear communications and situational awareness of the battlespace is crucial. It's even more vital when working in a multi-service, multi-national command and control environment.

"Key resolve is one of the most exciting things I've done since joining the Air Force," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Sparks, a common operational picture technician assigned to the 607 AOC Combat Operations Division. "My duties have a wide-ranging impact on the entire gamut of the air war: theater missile defense, combat search and rescue, close air support, offensive and defensive counter air, air interdiction, aerial refueling, time-sensitive-targeting, and special operations force insertion and extraction as well as airspace management," Sergeant Sparks said.

"Obviously there are a lot of moving pieces to a theater-scale air war," he continued. "You've got to be able to multi-task and have a high level of situational awareness to integrate all the air operations into a comprehensive and understandable picture that can be used by both U.S. and ROK forces. It's a stressful job, and it's important we get it right the first time, every time."

Although the core cadre of the KAOC is made up of personnel permanently assigned to Osan Air Base, TDY augmentees play a vital role in the success of this large-scale exercise. "It's amazing to see the level of performance and technical competence displayed by our augmentees," said Staff Sgt. Barian Smith, Combat Plans Division NCOIC of air tasking order production. "From day one, [they] have been working hard alongside the ROKAF-USAF KAOC cadre to publish a comprehensive daily [air tasking order] for the flyers to execute. Equally important, they arrived [on the peninsula] with the same attitude those of us stationed here at Osan have every day - they were ready to fight tonight!"

Major Terralus "Squelch" Lowe, 607 AOC Strategy Division, also had solid comments concerning the exercise augmentation. "Besides the ROKAF and U.S. Navy counterparts we have permanently assigned to the division, we now have augmentation from the Army and Marine Corps helping us devise the strategy to prosecute the Key Resolve air campaign," he said. "The service-unique perspectives these joint augmentees bring to the fight is truly value-added. Having our joint force augmentees fully integrated with the Strategy Division has greatly enhanced our ability to provide the Air Component Commander and the Combined Forces Commander with viable options to not only deter, but also defeat aggression in the unfortunate event war should ever happen."

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Page last modified: 09-02-2017 19:37:10 ZULU