Air National Guard deploys to Kunsan; Three F-16 wings deploy to ROK for AEF assignment

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- A deployed crew chief guides an F-16 from the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing, commonly referred to as "The Tacos," into place before bedding down recently. The 150th FW deployed to Kunsan along with the 140th and 120th FWs, each from the Colorado and Montana ANGs respectively, where together they formed the 186th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron as part of their Air Expeditionary Force rotation. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Schwartz)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- A deployed crew chief guides an F-16 from the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing, commonly referred to as "The Tacos," into place before bedding down recently. The 150th FW deployed to Kunsan along with the 140th and 120th FWs, each from the Colorado and Montana ANGs respectively, where together they formed the 186th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron as part of their Air Expeditionary Force rotation. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Schwartz)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- An F-16 from the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing, commonly referred to as "The Tacos," prepares to beddown recently after deploying to Kunsan Air Base as part of the unit's Air Expeditionary Force rotation. The 150th FW integrated with the 140th and 120th FWs, each from the Colorado and Montana ANGs respectively, to become the 186th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Becky Nelson)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- An F-16 from the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing, commonly referred to as "The Tacos," prepares to beddown recently after deploying to Kunsan Air Base as part of the unit's Air Expeditionary Force rotation. The 150th FW integrated with the 140th and 120th FWs, each from the Colorado and Montana ANGs respectively, to become the 186th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Becky Nelson)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Elements of the 150th, 140th and 120th Fighter Wings from the New Mexico, Colorado and Montana Air National Guards respectively, have deployed here during the past week in support of their individual Air Expeditionary Force rotations.

The ANG units, renamed the 186th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and nicknamed the “Rocky Mountain Coalition,” have integrated into the Wolf Pack in support of each unit’s individual training requirements. Commanding the squadron, Lt. Col. Mark Scharf said each air guard unit was looking forward to working with their active duty hosts.

“We bring members from [each unit] together to form the ‘Rocky Mountain Coalition’ to train in Korea and participate as a valued member of the Wolf Pack.”

The colonel added he has several goals for the members of the 186th EFS.

“Each of us are AEF partners, giving us the chance to work together,” he said. “Not only will we work together, but [we’ll do it] in an environment we haven’t been together in as a group. Many of our pilots haven’t flown outside the U.S. We will integrate and be … a normal member of this wing.”

Each ANG unit, primarily from temperate areas of the U.S. where the training weather is normally a dry heat, is now working in a humid, muggy environment. Col. Scharf added the conditions are different, making Kunsan a great training opportunity.

The deployment, not unlike those to Southwest Asia, will be a busy one for the 186th EFS. As the unit becomes fully operational in the coming days, it will take on the same operations tempo the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons based at Kunsan experience everyday. Chief Master Sgt. Roy Hannah, 186th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron NCOIC, said the goal of each deployed member is to go anywhere in the world to fly and fight.

“These three units under the AEF concept can go anywhere, and we are doing that right now,” Chief Hannah said.

When asked about performing the Wolf Pack’s mission of “Taking the Fight North,” Chief Hannah said the training his maintenance personnel were receiving allows them to fight side by side with the Wolf Pack.

“If our assets are needed, we’ll be right there [with the 8th Fighter Wing],” he said. “That’s what it means to integrate.”

Col. Scharf added the “individual effort” hospitality Kunsan has given to his Guard members has been outstanding.

“There is always an organized effort at bases, which is nice, but this unit is [all about] the individual effort from the folks that come over and just offer to help,” he said. “Everyone is busy, but the folks from transportation, communications and other offices are ready to support us. It’s a lot of work for them and we appreciate it.”