NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — F-22A Raptor pilots and maintainers assigned to the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Fighter Wing brought experience and expertise to Red Flag 17-1 held Jan. 23 to Feb. 10, 2017, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Red Flag is an aerial combat training exercise involving air, space and cyber domains from the United States and allied forces. Pilots, maintenance and support personnel are trained for real air combat situations.
The realistic combat training scenarios are held in the skies above the 2.9 million acre Nevada Test and Training Range northwest of Las Vegas.
“Red Flag is a Total Force effort to maximize multi-domain integration in a relevant and realistic exercise,” said call sign “Disco,” a lieutenant color assigned to the 149th Fighter Squadron as pilot.
The 149th FS is fully integrated with the 1st Fighter Wing out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The drill status and full-time Guardsmen work side-by-side with their active duty counterparts to fulfill missions at JBLE on a daily basis.
“Full-time and drill status Guardsmen are here for the exercise fulfilling the same role we expect to fill in combat operations,” said call sign “Claw,” a major assigned to the 149th FS as a pilot.
Maintainers and pilots from the Air Guard bring many years of military and civilian experience providing continuity to their counterparts at Red Flag. This experience facilitates efficiency and the ability to transfer knowledge to others.
“Many of our active duty colleagues are here for the first time while the 149th pilots have participated in numerous Red Flag exercises, resulting in years of training and knowledge,” said Claw. “This allows us to fly as mission commander, package lead or wingman, serving as mentors for younger pilots.”
According to Disco, the 192nd FW provides coalitions partners participating in the exercise with the highest levels of expertise in maintenance, aircrew flight equipment, intelligence and operations.
“It is extremely powerful to take a drill status Guardsman from his or her civilian job and expose them to as close to combat training as possible with our allies,” said Disco.