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Kadena participates in Cope Tiger 2008

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
About 100 Team Kadena Airmen deployed to Thailand this week for Exercise Cope Tiger 2008. 

Personnel from the 18th Medical Support Squadron, 909th Air Refueling Squadron, 18th Communication Squadron and the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron were part of more than 1,400 service members from the U.S., Thailand and Singapore participating in this annual, multilateral joint and combined field training, and humanitarian/civic assistance exercise. 

"Cope Tiger enhances combined readiness and interoperability...and maintains peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," said Lt. Col. Matthew Mace, 961st ACCS detachment commander. "The exercise reinforces U.S. commitment and demonstrates our capability to project combined and joint forces strategically in a multilateral environment." 

The exercise allowed Airmen to build relationships with both Royal Singapore and Royal Thai Air Forces command and control agencies as well as operate with their fighter aircraft, said Capt. Eric Lazenby, 961st AACS chief of command and control tactics. 

Pacific Air Forces aircraft and those from the RTAF and RSAF participated in a four-day large force employment consisting primarily of air-to-air combat roles with secondary air-to-ground missions. The LFE encompassed 140 sorties a day, which also included close air support, air refueling, and air mobility. 

"The primary goal is to defend friendly nations from aggressive nations," said Lt. Col. Larry Germann, Cope Tiger director for the live fly cell. "The LFE gives us an opportunity to go face-to-face not only with the Marines, but also with the Singaporeans and the Thais." 

Cope Tiger allowed participating nations to see and experience each others capabilities, said Captain Lazenby. 

"This was a unique opportunity to brief, execute, and debrief missions with our Pacific allies to ensure we can perform any mission from humanitarian assistance to air interdiction and offensive/defensive counter air," he added. 

Flying was not the only activity during this year's Cope Tiger. The exercise also included air and ballistic missile defense operations, counter-terrorism, maritime security, search and rescue, humanitarian relief, and mutual logistics support activities. 

As part of humanitarian relief--including Kadena medics from the 18th Dental Squadron--a team of PACAF Airmen joined their RSAF and RTAF counterparts to perform a Medical Civil Action Plan visit. The MEDCAP provided medical care for local people of all ages who did not have access to care. 

"I like the opportunity because we [the three countries] work together," said Maj. Randy Ival, 13th AF Office of the Surgeon General, chief of contingency operations and plans. "We save and better people's lives. It's not an experience you're going to get anywhere else." 

"We've done this exercise for multiple years and it helps us not only to build the working relations with our counterparts, but to help us understand their capabilities and for them to understand ours," said Col. James Horton, U.S. Air Force exercise director and the 13th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. 

Cope Tiger is the only multilateral field training exercise held in Thailand. 

Capt. Renee Lee, Cope Tiger Public Affairs, contributed to this story.