NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — More than 200 Airmen from the 192nd and 1st Fighter Wing Maintenance and Operations Groups participated in the 40th anniversary of the Red Flag combat training exercise Jan. 26 to Feb. 13, 2015, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Annually, Red Flag brings together assets from the United Kingdom, Australia, and across multiple branches of the U.S. military to train together and enhance the capabilities of a coalition response to global threats as a united front.
“Red Flag is designed to simulate the first few weeks of a major theater campaign”, said, U.S. Air Force Col. Pat McAtee, 192nd Operations Group commander. “Over the past 40 years we’ve proven these challenging and realistic scenarios make our Airmen far more survivable and effective in combat. America and our allies are the best in the world at conducting these complex campaigns due in large part to the training we receive at Red Flag exercises.”
Each day more than 125 aircraft departed twice a day and remained in flight for up to five hours before returning to the base. 192nd and 1st FW Raptor pilots protected coalition forces on both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. On the air to air missions, they protected coalition aircraft from adversary airplanes simulated by F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 64th Aggressor Squadron based at Nellis.
On the air-to-ground missions, F-22 pilots destroyed ground threats and military targets while continuing the fight against adversaries, enabling coalition aircraft to strike targets in a simulated war-time environment. For Joint Base Langley Eustis, this was the first deployed use of the revolutionary new increment 3.1 dynamic air to ground capability.
The Red Flag exercise included U.S. fighter jets, bombers, reconnaissance planes, air-refueling tankers and air traffic control aircraft from the 21st Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps squadrons in addition to aircraft from the Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.
Support for the F-22 Raptors participating in the exercise was provided by an integrated team from JBLE. The F-22 Raptor team consisted of Virginia Air National Guard members from the 192nd FW, and active duty Airmen from the 1st FW working together to ensure all aircraft were mission ready and operating at optimal capabilities.
“The main purpose of the exercise was to practice working with everybody else,” said Tech. Sgt. Guillermo Salcevo, 94th Fighter Squadron Aircraft Maintenance Unit Specialist. “Integration was the key thing here, ”
Airman 1st Class Johnelle Walker, 48th Operational Support Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, agreed with Salcevo. “The biggest thing we learned while participating in Red Flag was “integration, integration, integration,” he said.
The first Red Flag was held in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War. Since then, more than 440,000 military members have participated in the training amassing 385,000 sorties and more than 660,000 hours of air time.