35th Fighter Squadron Pantons ‘push’ west for Cope Tiger 2024

  • Published
  • By Capt. K. Paige Hankerson
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand – The 35th Fighter Squadron, assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, is set to participate in Exercise Cope Tiger 2024, 18-29 March at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand.

Cope Tiger is an annual, trilateral exercise hosted by the U.S. Pacific Air Forces in conjunction with The Royal Thai Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Air Force to enhance combat readiness and combined multinational joint interoperability of the combined force. Personnel from the 35th FS arrived on 8 March, taking time to familiarize themselves with the airspace and meet with international counterparts in preparation for flying to begin on the 18th.

“We have been looking forward to participating in the exercise and the opportunity to integrate with Singaporean and Thai forces,” said Lt. Col. Eric Broyles, 35th Fighter Squadron commander. “As members of the Wolf Pack [8th Fighter Wing], we routinely fly with other nations in Korea, but it is nice to extend our network and integrate with other partners that help maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region for all.” During the two-week exercise, 35th Fighter Squadron personnel will integrate F-16C aircraft with RSAF F-15SGs, RTAF F-16As, and USAF F-35A aircraft in the skies over Thailand.

“This year is the 30th Anniversary of the Cope Tiger exercise which is a testament to the strength of the partnership between the U.S., Singapore and Thailand. Our commitment to improving as a combined force showcases that partnership is the foundation of stability in the region,” said Broyles. The 35th FS’ sister squadron, the 80th FS, recently completed participation in joint exercise Cobra Gold. Its maintenance team and aircraft remained in place for Cope Tiger as continuity on the ground in Korat and to ease logistical coordination for the PACAF units to participate in both exercises.

“The decision was made to have the Wolf Pack operate as a team, not so focused on individual squadrons, to fill this tasking,” said Col. Jeffrey Shulman, 8th Fighter Wing deputy wing commander. “It made sense to leave the iron and maintenance team from Cobra Gold to avoid levying an additional tanker requirement on U.S. Transportation Command while allowing both of the fighter squadrons’ pilots the opportunity to fly and integrate with the Royal Thai Air Force.”

8th FW participation not only demonstrates U.S. commitment to two integral partner nations, but that partnership is critical to address regional security threats, humanitarian crises, and natural disasters.