OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea. – Airmen from the 6th and 9th Air Refueling Squadrons from Travis Air Force Base, California, participated in the first Pacific Tanker Symposium and conducted the first combined air refueling operation with the Republic of Korea Air Force, Nov 18, 2019.
The symposium was hosted by the 607th Air Operations Center and the ROKAF Operations Command at Osan Air Base, South Korea.
“As a result of this symposium valuable discussions were conducted on the similarities and differences among the allied tanker community, and how to work towards being interoperable as a united tanker force,” said Capt. Jason Lim, 6th ARS pilot.
The symposium had 26 participants which included refueling units from the United States, Republic of Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom. The nations came together to discuss standardization and interoperability of tanker aircrafts in the Pacific theater.
Lim also said the ROKAF was able to gain insight on how to develop and employ their recently acquired KC-330 tanker aircraft in combined air refueling operations.
Lim is fluent in Korean and a member of the Air Force language-enabled Airmen program which made communication for the aerial refueling easy for both squadrons to share ideas.
A year ago, communication with the 6th ARS and ROKAF’s 261st ARS began to plan for a future training event.
“I had a feeling of great accomplishment with how far we have come in regards to this interaction with the ROKAF 261st ARS,” Lim said. “Last year, the 6th ARS had our first engagement with them through a KC-10 off-station training to Osan where we demonstrated KC-10 air refueling operations.”
With this first communication between the ROKAF’s first tanker squadron and a USAF tanker squadron, guidance was provided to the ROKAF how to work towards setting up a successful air refueling squadron.
“Fast forward to exactly one year and now we are flying together in the same airspace and conducting air refueling operations to our US and ROK fighter receivers,” Lim said. “We set out a goal to work towards interoperability and have made huge advancements towards that goal.”
The 6th ARS was able to train ROKAF members on the KC-330’s refueling capabilities on the fighters from the 51st and 8th Fighter Wings to maintain combat readiness in the Pacific theater for the ROKAF.
"I felt really honored to be part of the (training mission),” said Staff Sgt. Cornelius Frazier, 9th ARS instructor boom operator. “It was really eye-opening to see how (other nations) operate and knowing that my inputs would have an impact on how they will further conduct their operations going forward. This opportunity really made me appreciate the training I received."