Max Thunder Kicks Off at Kunsan

More than 400 US and South Korean airmen began Max Thunder 12-2, an exercise at Kunsan AB, South Korea, to demonstrate their joint combat capabilities as a means of dissuading North Korean aggression. “Strong airpower sends a signal,” said Maj. Shaun Bellamy, 7th Air Force chief of weapons and training, in an Oct. 29 Kunsan release. He added, “This is an unparalleled planning opportunity, and what we learn from it will only make us better.” During the exercise, which kicked off on Oct. 28. the two air forces will coordinate on all aspects of operations, from planning to takeoff and debriefing, states the release. Dozens of US F-16s, along with A-10s from Osan Air Base, are participating, as are South Korean F-15Ks, KF-16s, F-5Bs, and HH-60 rescue helicopters, according to the release. This is the first Max Thunder exercise to feature surface-to-air threats as well as combined combat search and rescue capabilities. (Kunsan report by SrA. Brigitte N. Brantley)