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U.S., South Korean Airmen repair runway during exercise

U.S. and Republic of Korea Airmen lift a rapid-runway repair fiberglass mat during the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, April 20, 2017. For five days, U.S. and ROK Airmen repaired damaged runway sections sharing techniques, strengthening bonds and forging friendships between the two allied countries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) Airmen lift a rapid-runway repair fiberglass mat during the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, ROK, April 20, 2017. For five days, U.S. and ROK Airmen repaired damaged runway sections sharing techniques, strengthening bonds and forging friendships between the two allied countries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

A Republic of Korea Airman cuts concrete during the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, April 19, 2017. The annual exercise ensures seamless interoperability between the U.S. and ROK while conducting airfield damage repair and improves their capability and commitment to work together at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

A Republic of Korea (ROK) Airman cuts concrete during the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, ROK, April 19, 2017. The annual exercise ensures seamless interoperability between the U.S. and ROK while conducting airfield damage repair and improves their capability and commitment to work together at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

A Republic of Korea Airman assists with decontamination operations during the ROK/U.S. Combined Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Field Training Exercise at Daegu Air Base, April 20, 2017. The exercise was coupled with the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise and included classroom study as well as detection and decontamination scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

A Republic of Korea (ROK) Airman assists with decontamination operations during the ROK/U.S. Combined Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Field Training Exercise at Daegu Air Base, ROK, April 20, 2017. The exercise was coupled with the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise and included classroom study as well as detection and decontamination scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

A Republic of Korea Airman secures a rapid-runway repair fiberglass mat during the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, April 20, 2017. After the mat is set up, Airmen place it over sections of damaged runway to ensure a safe launch and recovery of aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

A Republic of Korea (ROK) Airman secures a rapid-runway repair fiberglass mat during the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, ROK, April 20, 2017. After the mat is set up, Airmen place it over sections of damaged runway to ensure a safe launch and recovery of aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

Republic of Korea Air Force Staff Sgt. Choi Seoung-bin, 11th Fighter Wing NCOIC equipment operations, speaks with U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Travis Ridgley, 647th Civil Engineer Squadron crater chief, during the U.S./ROK Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, April 20, 2017. The annual exercise ensures seamless interoperability between the U.S. and ROK while conducting airfield damage repair and improves their capability and commitment to work together at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

Republic of Korea air force Staff Sgt. Choi Seoung-bin, 11th Fighter Wing NCOIC equipment operations, speaks with U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Travis Ridgley, 647th Civil Engineer Squadron crater chief, during the U.S./Republic of Korea (ROK) Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise at Daegu Air Base, ROK, April 20, 2017. The annual exercise ensures seamless interoperability between the U.S. and ROK while conducting airfield damage repair and improves their capability and commitment to work together at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

U.S. and Republic of Korea Airmen take a photo during the ROK/U.S. Combined Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Field Training Exercise at Daegu Air Base, April 20, 2017. Airmen from the allied countries strengthened bonds and forged friendships during the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) Airmen take a photo during the ROK/U.S. Combined Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Field Training Exercise at Daegu Air Base, ROK, April 20, 2017. Airmen from the allied countries strengthened bonds and forged friendships during the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

DAEGU AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

Sounds of big machinery and shovels moving earth echoed as U.S. and Republic of Korea Civil Engineer Airmen worked side by side during the Combined Airfield Damage Repair Exercise, April 17-20.

The annual exercise ensures seamless interoperability between the U.S. and ROK while repairing airfield damage and improves their capability to work together at a moment’s notice.

“In situations when we don’t have sufficient personnel to form a full ADR capability on either side, it is critical that we form a unified team in order to expedite the repair of the runway,” said ROK Air Force Capt. Lee Hoopu-beom, 11th Fighter Wing civil engineer operations officer.

During the exercise, U.S. and ROK Airmen repaired damaged runway sections while sharing techniques, strengthening bonds and forging friendships between the two allied countries.

“We really aren’t that different,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Paek, 7th Air Force chief of readiness and planning. “How we run operations and our main focus on the runway are exactly the same. We’re here for one mission, which is to launch sorties. We have to be ready to fight tonight.”

This year, the ADR exercise was coupled with the ROKAF/USAF Combined Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Field Training Exercise which included classroom study as well as detection and decontamination scenarios.

“It was definitely a unique experience,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Parson, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency manager. “Not too many people get to work in someone else’s country helping them do what they would do in an emergency. Working together, you are able to establish those relationships where you understand this is exactly what would happen if things got real. Getting to see that was imperative to us growing as a force.”

With four days of joint training leading to the last day’s final test, the two forces were more than ready to repair airfields together, ensuring the critical function of safely launching and recovering aircraft.

“I learned a lot about how to work jointly in a combined environment,” said Republic of Korea Air Force Staff Sgt. Choi Seoung-bin, 11th Fighter Wing NCOIC of equipment operations. “I think this was a great opportunity to work together, and I hope through this exercise our alliance gets even stronger."