Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) KA-1 Woongbi aircraft and US Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt IIs undertook a week-long training event in mid-July as part of the long-running Buddy Squadron (BS) programme, formerly known as the Buddy Wing.
The latest iteration, BS 22-5, which took place at Wonju Air Base, involved ROKAF KA-1s from the 237th Fighter Squadron (FS) at Wonju and USAF A-10Cs from the 51st Fighter Wing’s 25th FS ‘Assam Dragons’ at Osan Air Base, ROK. The programme has a rich history that ties both US and Republic of Korea Air Forces together. The tradition dates back 20 years and is used as an opportunity to build trust, introduce new tactics and exchange ideas for pilots, maintenance technicians and support personnel from both bilateral partners. BS 22-5 involved practice close air support and forward air controller mission sets.
Capt James Pettet, 25th FS pilot/flight commander, said: “This is the first time in 3 years that we have had the opportunity to exercise Buddy Squadron operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal now is to continue these training events throughout the peninsula as this is a great chance for both countries to learn from each other.” According to Pettet, Osan will host future Buddy Squadron iterations, further improving interoperability between the USAF and ROKAF and continuing the tradition.
Pettet continued: “The 25th FS cannot express enough gratitude to the 237th FS for their hospitality and professionalism during this exercise. We look forward to hosting the next Buddy Squadron and would like to say thank you to everyone involved.”