Why Korea?

  • Published
  • By Col. James McGovern
  • 366th Operations Group
Last summer our wing's fighter squadrons, supported by hundreds of maintenance and support professionals, F-15E fighter aircraft and personnel, as well as the 726th Air Control Squadron stationed at Mountain Home, were directed to the Pacific and deployed to South Korea. In less than a month, after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates signed the deployment order, Gunfighter aircraft and personnel arrived at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, ready to fly combat missions in less than 24 hours.

Such an achievement is no small feat. The movement and rotation of thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the globe every month, have to be planned in painstaking detail through the Joint Staff and the services--known as Global Force Management. Behind the scenes are planning details of airlift and tanker support, transportation for cargo, and gear issue for a place very different from the desert terrain our Airmen have become accustomed to deploying in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Due to the flawless performance of hundreds of professional men and women in support agencies across the base, the 389th Fighter Squadron met the operational directive on a very short timeline.

Many Gunfighters can be forgiven for wondering why our men and women had to be sent on short notice to Korea. Are we not in a serious fight in Afghanistan? Other realities from the Korean Peninsula explain the longer view of why we are there.

These deployments underscore the U.S. commitment to Pacific Command's regional partners and U.S. security obligations. They serve as a prudent measure to maintain a credible deterrent posture and to meet emerging security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.

As part of our global efforts to address worldwide requirements, we routinely deploy additional forces throughout the Pacific. This deterrent posture includes maintaining an appropriate force presence in the PACOM theater, and integrating our forces into joint and coalition exercise and training opportunities. These deployments also send a clear message to any potential adversary that the U.S. is serious about security and stability in the region.

The Gunfighters serve an important role in the defense of the Republic of Korea. Along with the Wolfpack at Kunsan, they are part of the legacy in providing deterrence, stability and force presence in Korea for the past 60 years since the Korean War. We must not forget that nearly 37,000 U.S. and allied servicemen and women made the ultimate sacrifice in a war known as the "forgotten war." The commitment to serve side by side with our Korean friends lays the groundwork for an alliance that will last beyond 60 years.
The ROK-U.S. partnership has thrived and ensured peace and stability in the region and all around the world. For these important reasons the 391st Fighter Squadron "Bold Tigers," who replace the T-Bolts, have also taken their place alongside seasoned PACOM units, standing sentinel-- ready to fly, fight and win.