Local Elected Official Deployed to Support South Korea
(White Bird) Idaho State Representative Priscilla Giddings, a major in the Air Force Reserves, returned home earlier this month after serving on a short-notice Air Force deployment to South Korea.
She was hand-selected based on her combat experience and aviation expertise, to help augment the American-Korean exercise, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG). UFG is the world’s largest simulation-supported exercise conducted annually with the Republic of Korea (ROK). The exercise is designed to demonstrate and improve the readiness of American and Korean forces. This year, there were approximately 17,500 U.S. participants, 57,000 ROK military and government participants, and ten supporting nations.
Representative Giddings worked with South Korean Air Force pilots and support personnel in the Korean Air Simulation Center where over 23,000 flying missions were replicated. Hundreds of real-time scenarios were provided for role-players to train allies how to defend against a variety of attacks.
This year the training garnered international attention as hostilities rose between North and South Korea. During the exercise, North Korea launched three separate missile tests to voice strong opposition to UFG. General Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff, ensured the exercise was fully augmented in case airmen were needed to transition into real world events.
Representative Giddings had the opportunity to work alongside South Korean military personnel who showed their appreciation for American military support. “It is apparent that South Koreans want peace. Their entire country faces a real threat to freedom, yet they remain resilient and hopeful.” After departing the Korean peninsula, she received a thank you note from a Korea F-16 pilot stating, “I’ll always pray for you and your country.”
*Priscilla is a member of the AF Reserves. Use of her military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Air Force or Department of Defense.
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