Exercise Max Thunder 16 launches at Kunsan

U.S. Navy Airman Austin Russem, Electronic Attack Squadron 13, Whidbey Island, Wa., performs a pre-flight inspection on an EA-18 Growler during Max Thunder 16 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 18, 2016. Exercise Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program to enhance interoperability between U.S. and ROK forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson/Released)

U.S. Navy Airman Austin Russem, assigned to the Electronic Attack Squadron 138, Whidbey Island, Wash., performs a preflight inspection on an EA-18 Growler during Max Thunder 16 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, April 18, 2016. Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program to enhance interoperability between U.S. and South Korean forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Aircraft from the 8th Fighter Wing, 19th Fighter Wing, Jungwon Air Base, Republic of Korea, and the 11th Fighter Wing, Daegu Air Base, ROK, taxi towards the runway during Max Thunder 16 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 18, 2016. Exercise Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program to enhance interoperability between U.S. and ROK forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson/Released)

Aircraft from the 8th and 19th Fighter Wings, Jungwon Air Base, South Korea, and the 11th FW, Daegu Air Base, South Korea, taxi toward the runway during Max Thunder 16 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, April 18, 2016. Exercise Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program to enhance interoperability between U.S. and South Korean forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson)

Republic of Korea air force F-15Ks from the 11th Fighter Wing, Daegu Air Base, ROK, prepare for flight as a KF-16 from the 20th Fighter Wing, Seosan Air Base, ROK takes off on the runway during Max Thunder 16 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 18, 2016. Exercise Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program to enhance interoperability between U.S. and ROK forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson/Released)

Republic of Korea air force F-15Ks from the 11th Fighter Wing, Daegu Air Base, ROK, prepare for flight as a KF-16 from the 20th Fighter Wing, Seosan Air Base, ROK takes off on the runway during Max Thunder 16 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 18, 2016. Exercise Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program to enhance interoperability between U.S. and ROK forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson/Released)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft will train with South Korean air force counterparts in the bilateral training exercise Max Thunder 16, at Kunsan Air Base April 15-29.

Max Thunder takes place annually and is the largest military flying exercise held on the Korean Peninsula. Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise program designed to enhance interoperability between U.S. and South Korean forces, and is not tied to any specific real-world events or situations. The exercise highlights the long-standing military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations to help ensure peace and security in Northeast Asia.

“Every year, Max Thunder serves as an excellent opportunity for U.S. and (South Korean air force) fighter pilots to train side by side and gain valuable experience they will need if the Korea airpower team is required to go into aerial combat together,” said Lt. Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the Seventh Air Force commander. “The U.S.’s commitment to the security of (South) Korea is ironclad. U.S. military aircraft come to Korea from across the Pacific to participate in this exercise, making a tremendous display of the capabilities the U.S. brings to this alliance.”

Approximately 1,200 U.S. personnel will participate in Max Thunder 16, in support of F-16 Fighting Falcons from Seventh Air Force; F-18 Hornets from the 12th Marine Aircraft Group; and EA-18G Growlers from the Navy’s Electronic Attack Squadron 138.

Approximately 640 South Korean personnel will also participate in the exercise in support of various aircraft.