Saturday, March 7, 2009

US Air Force deploys F-15's to Thailand

Kadena Deploys F-15s and personnel to Thailand for Exercise Cope Tiger
Ready to fly
Hawaii Air National Guard F-15 pilots from the 154th Wing, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, prepare for their final Cope Tiger sorties during a previous exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Betty Squatrito-Martin) 

by 18th Wing Public Affairs

3/5/2009 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- The 18th Wing deployed 12 F-15 Eagles and about 170 Airmen to Thailand Monday to participate in exercise Cope Tiger 2009 from March 9-20. The F-15s from the 44th Fighter Squadron here will fly alongside their Thai Air Force counterparts as well as the Singaporean Air Force and other U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air assets. 

"This exercise is a great opportunity to hone our air combat skills while practicing against different adversaries than we normally train against here," said Lt. Col. Peter Oertel, 18th Operations Group deputy commander. 

Cope Tiger is one of many multilateral combined/joint field training exercises that Kadena sends aircraft and personnel to each year. It enhances combined readiness and interoperability between allied forces, reinforces U.S. commitment to the Pacific region, and demonstrates U.S. capability to project combined and joint forces strategically in a multi-lateral environment. 

The event provides an unparalleled opportunity to improve our tactics between our allied partners and cultivate interoperability and coalition procedures in the employment of airpower between the three countries, said the colonel. 

More than 2,300 people will participate in the exercise, including approximately 1,200 U.S. service members and 1,100 service members from Thailand and Singapore forces. The exercise will take place at both Korat and Udon Thani Royal Thai Air Force Bases and includes 156 aircraft and air defense units, 55 of which are from the United States. 

"We also hope to build personal and international relationships with our allied personnel," said Colonel Oertel. "This will facilitate any responses to regional events or contingencies in the future." 

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