Tuesday, November 11, 2008

D-M pilots participate in annual Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB

by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Coggan
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/10/2008 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- A-10 Thunderbolt pilots from the 355th Fighter Wing here participated in the 33rd annual Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, from Oct. 20 through Oct. 31.

Red Flag 09-1, an advanced aerial combat training exercise hosted at Nellis AFB and Eielson AFB, Alaska, allowed approximately 1,600 military members from the United Sates, Greece, Spain and Singapore air forces to train together for two weeks in a combat training exercise on the 15,000-square-mile Nevada Test and Training Range, located north of Las Vegas.

"Red Flag provides the venue for U.S. Forces and its allies to prepare for actual combat by participating in some of the most realistic combat training operations offered anywhere in the world," said Maj. Gavin McHenry, team chief for Red Flag 09-1. "We have had an excellent two weeks of flying at RF9-1 and we have set a new precedent in CSAR training integration."

Since 1975, air crew from the United States Air Force and other U.S. military branches and allies have taken part in Red Flag exercises, each of which is six weeks in duration.

The more than 80 aircraft that flew during Red Flag 09-1 include the F-16 Fighting Falcons from Greece and Singapore, the EF-18 Hornets from Spain, the F-15 Eagles, the A-10 Thunderbolts, the KC-135 Stratotankers and several command and control aircraft.

A typical flag exercise year includes one Green Flag (a close air support exercise with the Army), one Canadian Maple Flag (operated by Canadian Forces Air Command) and four Red Flags. Each Red Flag exercise normally involves a variety of fighter interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance missions. In a 12-month period, more than 500 aircraft fly more than 20,000 sorties, while training more than 5,000 aircrews and 14,000 support and maintenance personnel.

"Future exercises will surely benefit from the lessons learned during these operations. As a result of all the training accomplished over the past 10 days, I believe our aviators and the rest of our participants are much better prepared for real-world theater operations," said Major McHenry. "It has been a great opportunity to be the Team Chief for Red Flag 9-1."

The mission of the 414th Combat Training Squadron is to increase combat readiness and survival skills of participants by providing a realistic training environment that encourages a free exchange of ideas.


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