By Air Force Staff Sgt. Kamaile Chan Pacific Air Force
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KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, Thailand, March 23, 2017 — U.S., Thai and Singaporean service members participating in this year’s Cope Tiger exercise joined together during a civic assistance program to give back to the local community.
In its 23rd year, Cope Tiger is an annual multilateral exercise aimed at improving combat readiness, interoperability and military relations among the three nations’ air forces.
It is also an opportunity for the three countries’ forces to give back to the Thai communities surrounding Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base.
This year’s Cope Tiger participants donated a water filtration system to the students of Ban Tanod Poonpol Witthaya School in the Nakhon Ratchasima province, ensuring they have fresh, clean, cold water to drink.
Singaporean and Thai medical personnel also provided medical treatment and dental care to people from the nearby area. A Thai ophthalmology team provided acuity tests, and Thai barbers even provided haircuts.
In addition, the school also received books, school supplies and sports equipment from the three partner nations, as well as a new playground for the younger children.
Kadena Airmen Interact With Children
Airmen with the 44th Fighter Squadron, 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron from Kadena Air Base, Japan, joined in on the celebration with local foods, performances from students and the Royal Thai Air Force Band. Children were able to interact with the airmen and learn more about the people flying and supporting exercise operations at the neighboring base.
While the civic assistance program took place at the nearby school, the first of many large force employment exercise scenarios for Cope Tiger 17 took place on base. Aviators spent two days planning missions while learning each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures and how to effectively overcome language barriers to operate safely in a controlled environment.
As the exercise progresses, scenarios will include larger aircraft formations in the air at one time, working on the same complex scenario. On average, more than 50 aircraft from the three nations will work together in the air under simulated combat stressors at the same time.
“These are complex missions that need to be safely executed while still being tactically effective,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Alexander Haddad, chief of standardization and evaluation with the 44th Fighter Squadron from Kadena Air Base. “And while learning to integrate in a combat scenario with different nations can be a challenge, we are learning from each other and are better prepared to face the stressors of combat missions.”
Cope Tiger 17 includes training in airborne and land-based control of aerial missions, electronic warfare, mission planning, inflight interoperability, basic maneuver, and close air support. Flying forces will be divided into two teams to maximize interoperability and the sharing of tactics, techniques and procedures, officials said.
The exercise is slated to conclude March 31.