A dozen F-16s from the 8th Fighter Wing departed Kunsan AB, South Korea, for Alaska, to participate in Red Flag-Alaska 14-3, a joint air combat exercise that runs through Aug. 22. About 200 airmen deployed with the jets on Aug. 12, according to a base release. Staging from Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the Kunsan F-16s and the airplanes from the six other participating combat units will fly on the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, engaging in a range of expeditionary combat scenarios. Although postured for combat on the Korean Peninsula, RF-A gives Kunsan’s airmen the opportunity to practice in a realistic threat environment, said Col. Ken Ekman, 8th FW commander. “It’s some of the best ranges, best flying, and best training we get to do, so it’s a great opportunity to go out there and practice,” added Maj. Dean Laansma, assistant director of operations for Kunsan's 80th Fighter Squadron. Also participating, according to Eielson's website, are: C-130s from Yokota AB, Japan; F-16s from Misawa AB, Japan, and the Wisconsin Air National Guard; KC-135s from the Alaska Air Guard; Marine Corps F/A-18s from California; and Navy EA-18Gs from Washington.
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