Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kadena Airmen deploy to Thailand for Exercise Cope Tiger

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- About 170 Kadena Air Base Airmen are deploying with 12 F-15 Eagles to Thailand to participate in Exercise Cope Tiger 2009 from March 9 through 20.

The F-15s from the 44th Fighter Squadron here will fly alongside their Thai air force counterparts as well as the Singaporean air force and other U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air assets.

"This exercise is a great opportunity to hone our air combat skills while practicing against different adversaries than we normally train against here," said Lt. Col. Peter Oertel, the 18th Operations Group deputy commander.

Cope Tiger is a multilateral combined/joint field training exercise that enhances combined readiness and interoperability between allied forces, reinforces U.S. commitment to the Pacific region, and demonstrates U.S. capability to project combined and joint forces strategically in a multilateral environment.

The event provides an unparalleled opportunity to improve our tactics between our allied partners and cultivate interoperability and coalition procedures in the employment of airpower between the three countries, the colonel said.

More than 2,300 people will participate in the exercise, including approximately 1,200 U.S. servicemembers and 1,100 servicemembers from Thailand and Singapore forces. The exercise will take place at both Korat and Udon Thani Royal Thai air force bases and includes 156 aircraft and air defense units, 55 of which are from the United States.

"We also hope to build personal and international relationships with our allied personnel," Colonel Oertel said. "This will facilitate any responses to regional events or contingencies in the future."