353rd SOG executes Teak Knife 2016

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Tait, 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
Members from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and 1st Special Operations Squadron worked with the Republic of Korea (ROK) 255th Special Operations Squadron to enhance U.S. and ROK Air Force Special Operations Forces’ capabilities during a joint, combined training engagement (JCET) at Kunsan Air Base, Oct. 13-26, 2016.

Last February, the 353rd SOG conducted the first JCET deployment with the 255th SOS in over a decade.

“Having established a baseline in February, coming back this October gave us an opportunity to further develop the interoperability and capabilities between the 255th SOS and 353rd SOG,” said Capt. David Mack, Joint Mission Commander for Teak Knife 2016. “We had the opportunity to repeat some of the training during this particular JCET and our partners have proven their ability to retain the information.”

The units conducted infiltration methods, jump clearing team operations, airfield establishment, aircraft control and close air support familiarization.

“Coming together with our Korean counterparts from the 255th SOS Combat Controller (CCT) element has been an exceptional training event for us,” said Mack. “We went 14 consecutive days, which is not typical with JCETs. Normally the partner force wants to take down time, but the ROK CCTs came ready to train.”

Performing exceptionally well, the 353rd SOG executed over 60 flying hours and 275 mission essential task items.

Kunsan Air Base hosted the units during the two-week JCET and provided a full-spectrum of logistical support to enable special operations forces to conduct training.

“Kunsan went above and beyond with regards to support,” said Mack. “From the facilities they made available for planning and operations, the proximity to the airfield to support jump and flying operations, the billeting location and support services provided have been nothing but exceptional.”

In addition to JCETs such as Teak Knife, the 353rd SOG seeks to conduct more training with the partner force from the 255th SOS in the future to include subject-matter exchanges and unit level training.

“These training exchanges speak loudly to the relationship we have with our Korean counterparts,” said Mack. “We stand ready together to protect the interests of the ROK and if necessary, push back to the North.”