News: 1st MAW CG pays visit to exercise Max Thunder, speaks of importance
Story by Cpl. Brian Stevens
KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea - The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, Brig. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, took time to visit Marines, sailors and airmen during Exercise Max Thunder, Oct. 30-31, 2013, at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.
During his visit, Rudder spoke about the purpose of the exercise.
“Max Thunder is a joint, bilateral exercise, designed to bring U.S. and Republic of Korea forces together so they can train like they would fight together,” said Rudder.
Rudder went on speak about how exercises like this are important because of the commitment the U.S. has with the Korean Peninsula and the advantages of bringing the forces together.
“Operations we do now are most often combined with partner nations and they encompass the complete joint force,” said Rudder. “For this exercise, because each service has their own unique capability, Marine Corps with their expeditionary capability, the ability to move rapidly to the objective area to begin operations, the Air Force with a very detailed defensive counter-air capability and the Army with the antimissile ballistic capability, all come together to form a defensive and offensive capability using the strengths of individual services and nations.”
Lt. Col. Michael P. Jeffries, commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, also spoke on the importance of Max Thunder.
“You need to train with the forces you are going to fight with,” said Jeffries. “We need to make sure we are all on the same sheet of music in the event tensions ever escalate on the Korean Peninsula which require military action.”
Some saw the exercise as a chance for Marines to stand out amongst other military services.
“Max Thunder allows our Marines to showcase their phenomenal war fighting skills, as we partner with varied allied services for joint operations in the area,” said Sgt. Maj. Shawn D. Ellis, sergeant major of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232.
Max Thunder began Oct. 28, 2013, but the ability to operate jointly with other branches and countries is already starting to appear.
“From what I can tell, the exercise is going very well,” said Rudder. “It’s in its early stages, so they will begin to build into their more complex flights where they will be using larger numbers of airplanes with the air-to-air and air-to-ground evolutions that will be getting more complex. We will see how our forces are able to come together and respond during those evolution, but I think the success vector is on the mark and I think once we begin to fly our more complex operations we will be flying them flawlessly.”
Rudder ended his visit by eating lunch with Marines and praising them for their ability to come together and work as one cohesive force with other units and military branches.