by Senior Airman Brigitte N. Brantley
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/14/2012 – KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — (AFNS) — With the ever-present threat of North Korea so close, Pacific Air Forces and South Korean Airmen constantly train to respond to any potential attacks.
A combined workshop June 7 and 8 gave the allies a chance to strengthen their partnership through demonstrations of the equipment each side uses during chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attacks.
“If something ever does go wrong, we can respond together and actually make it a joint environment versus saying ‘this is what I’m doing and that’s what you’re doing,'” said Staff Sgt. Kendra Ketonen, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman. “We get the benefits of knowing what they have and what they can bring to the fight.”
In addition to the Republic of Korea Air Force 38th Fighter Group and 8th CES from Kunsan, there were also attendees from several other PACAF base, including Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
If North Korea were to make a move, Airmen from these bases would be called in to help defend resources here.
“If we need to work together, we’ll understand and better know how to make connections,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jerome Dubose, 7th Air Force CBRN manager for Korea from Osan Air Base. “In many cases, our Korean partners have the lead so if there’s a war, it behooves us to coordinate with them.”
Like much of their joint training and exercises, a translator was on hand to make sure explanations and discussions were as helpful and thorough as possible.
During the workshop, the Americans and Koreans each provided familiarization of the equipment and procedures they use when responding to an attack.
The Americans gave a detailed walk-through of their contamination control area. The Koreans showed off their decontamination aerial sprayer, which works like a car wash and allows people and vehicles to be ‘deconned’ more quickly.
“We can help each other out to defend this base,” said 1st Lt. Jinki Kim from the 38th FG. He added that much of the equipment and training used for decontaminating is the same.
Throughout the training, one point from both sides was emphasized: working together helps the partnership grow and ensures we are prepared to respond to any situation.
- Joint Statement of the 2012 United States – Republic of Korea Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting Released (EndtheLie.com)
- Commander Seeks Enhanced Deterrent on Korean Peninsula (defense.gov)
- US special forces ‘parachuted into North Korea’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- US denies reports it parachuted soldiers into North Korea (telegraph.co.uk)