KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — The 8th Fighter Wing participated in the Pacific Air Forces command‘s annual Combined Flying Training Event, VIGILANT STORM 23, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 31 – Nov. 5, 2022. VIGILANT STORM 23 was designed to integrate U.S. and ROK forces, training on mutual support procedures and maximize command and control capabilities to improve understanding and trust between the two nations.
During the training event, units assigned to the 8th Operations Group and the 8th Maintenance Group, launched F-16 Fighting Falcon jets around-the-clock. Wolf Pack Airmen flew more than 280 sorties, accumulated more than 335 flight hours and shared the Kunsan air space with aircraft from across the Indo-Pacific Command; including F-35 Lightning IIs and F/A 18-D Hornets from U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, C-130J Super Hercules from Yokota AB, Japan, and F-16Ks from Kunsan’s 38th Fighter Group.
“VIGILANT STORM 23 provided the Wolf Pack a unique opportunity to showcase its power projection capabilities alongside mission partners from the Republic of Korea” said Col. Henry Jeffress, 8th Fighter Wing commander. “Each sortie improved interoperability between both nations, enhanced the Fight Tonight mission and strengthened the iron-clad ROK-U.S. Alliance.”
While the training event focused on aircraft generation and the 8th Operations Group’s ability to execute with joint and combined Indo-Pacific Command forces, units from across the base honed their readiness skills. All Wolf Pack Airmen demonstrated their ability to conduct 24/7-operations in a contested environment: donning and doffing mission-oriented personal protective gear, securing critical base infrastructures and practicing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense protocols throughout the week.
“Our readiness as a force is underwritten by training events like Vigilant Storm 23,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Damian, 8th Fighter Wing command chief. “I have faith in our Airmen and their ability to execute everyday, but it is weeks like this, where we watch everyone prove they are the best at what they do, that solidifies the Wolf Pack is ready to Fight Tonight.”