SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A three-person mobile training team from the 372nd Training Squadron returned stateside May 11 after a deployment to South Korea providing F-16 Falcon avionics systems training to the Republic of Korea Air Force.
The training, which began April 26 at Joongwon Air Base in ChungJu, focused on the differences between the old and new F-16 avionics hardware and software.
“This was an opportunity for us to teach them about some of the avionics systems upgrades they needed to know about,” said Master Sgt. Marco D. Wilson from the 372 TRS Detachment 202 at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. “Although we had a language barrier, you could tell that the art of maintenance is universal.”
Also on the trip were Tech. Sgt. Jaamal MeNefee, 372nd TRS Detachment 213 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; and Tech. Sgt. Jason Perrin, 372nd TRS Detachment 212 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
A total of 22 ROKAF students were trained by the team during the course, which mainly focused on the Common Configuration Implementation Program, an upgrade in hardware and software for several key F-16 avionics systems.
“Not only did we work with the ROKAF with the Common Configuration Implementation Program, we also had some opportunities to demonstrate good maintenance practices on other systems not related to the course,” Wilson said.
Although all of the team members had previously served in South Korea, getting the chance to see how the ROKAF works up close and personal was eye-opening.
“We do have differences in maintenance practices and it was interesting to see the way that they organized and conducted maintenance,” Wilson said. “But for the most part, it was expressed to us that the ROKAF mimics the USAF in many ways and it was apparent.”
The exchange between the U.S. and ROKAF maintainers wasn’t all about work.
“They invited us out to eat with them and we had a great time,” Wilson said. “It was very interesting for all of us instructors (all 6 feet and above in height) to try and sit cross-legged on the floor to eat. The ROKAF guys laughed at us for being so tall, but were happy that we tried our best.”
Being committed to the defense of one’s country is also universal.
“The conversation between us all was very interesting and we related to each other as only military brothers in arms could,” Wilson said. “We go through a lot of the same things being in the military. Especially when it comes to family, but we love our countries and are devoted to our service.”
The 372nd Training Squadron is part of the 982nd Training Group based at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.