by Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs
23d Wing Public Affairs
A-10C Thunderbolt II from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., participate in Red Flag 12-4 at Nellis AFB, Nev. Moody is the host unit for this Red Flag bring more than 200 Airmen and 14 A-10s. The purpose of Red Flag is to train pilots from the U.S., NATO and other allied countries for real combat situations. This includes the use of live ammunition for bombing exercises within the Nevada Testing and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha) Hi-res
7/16/2012 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- More than 250 Airmen from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., deployed here in support of Red Flag 12-4 -- a multinational, multiservice training exercise that provides an array of realistic aerial combat scenarios.
Moody's 23d Wing Flying Tigers serve as the lead unit for this year's Red Flag, with U.S. Air Force Col. Billy Thompson, 23d WG commander, serving as the Air Expeditionary Wing commander for the duration of Red Flag 12-4.
"Red Flag is the premiere air combat training exercise in the world," Thompson said. "Our pilots will face realistic aggressor threats in a contested and degraded environment. We're building strong bonds with our allies and getting some of the best training possible. A lot of hard work has gone into the planning of this exercise, and I know everyone here will benefit from this first-class training event."
The exercise, which began July 16, is hosted by the 414th Combat Training Squadron and takes place primarily in and around the Nevada Test and Training Range. Within more than 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land, NTTR offers pilots and other aircrew members a unique environment and terrain coupled with training scenarios that are not possible elsewhere.
"Nellis is unique because of the level of threat, the live ordnance and the different terrain," said Capt. Zach Hughes, an A-10 pilot with the 74th Fighter Squadron. "At Moody you get a different picture with a flat area and lots of tall trees. Here it's more rocky and rolling terrain."
In addition to the change of scenery, F-16 and F-15 aggressor pilots will take to the skies and fly combat missions against the Red Flag aviators.
"We debrief with these guys and they can actually tell you what they saw from an adversary's perspective," Hughes said. "They offer feedback and can give you an honest assessment of whether you would or would not have survived. There are also very realistic surface to air threats."
Maintenance crews will work around the clock to ensure fighters, tankers, and bombers are ready to launch for their respective missions. Moody maintainers are in good spirits, despite the desert heat which is expected to break 100 degrees some days.
"It gives some of these guys a chance to load live munitions," said Master Sgt. Rick Austin, specialist section chief with the 23d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. "This environment is more of what it's like when we're deployed, especially from the munitions aspect of what they're doing."
Exercise scenarios the next two weeks will test the limits of man and machine as they conduct training on air interdiction, combat search and rescue, dynamic and high value targeting.
Targets on the NTTR will receive myriad munitions as Flying Tigers drop bombs and fire rockets. The training sorties will unleash up to eight MK-82 bombs per day and as much as 5,000 rounds from the A-10's 30 mm cannons. Combat search and rescue capabilities will also be tested as rescue crews search for a pilot in remote regions of the Nevada desert.
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, 23d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, load perform a post load inspection on an A-10C Thunderbolt II during the Red Flag Exercise 12-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 16, 2012. Red Flag is a realistic aerial combat training exercise that test the limits of man and machine as they conduct training on air interdiction, combat search and rescue, dynamic and high value targeting (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha) Hi-res
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