Friday, January 29, 2010

1,200 military members take part in Red Flag 10-2

An F-15 Eagle from Kadena Air Base, Japan, takes off during Red Flag Oct. 22, 2009, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Twelve F-15s from the 44th Fighter Squadron, along with 160 maintenance and support personnel are attending Red Flag Nellis AFB from Jan. 18 through Feb. 5, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Nearly 1,300 servicemembers, more than 80 aircraft and 19 units from the U.S. and England converged for the start of Red Flag 10-2 Jan. 25, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The exercise is the largest, full-scale integration exercise in the world and prepares warfighters for real-world combat by pitting them against the fictional country of Coyote.

"Our Kadena (Air Base) Airmen will experience the most realistic combat scenarios in the world with joint forces engaging in essential training required prior to employing in a contingency," said Lt. Col. Matthew Molineux, the 18th Operations Group deputy commander. "Red Flag pits our (Airmen) against the best opposing forces in the world."

Large-scale integration involves more than aircraft flying, fighting and winning. It involves all aspects of combat, on the ground and in the air. The 414th Combat Training Squadron staff at Nellis AFB is tasked with planning the exercise to ensure all servicemembers are challenged.

"We train people here for realistic threats, and it takes a lot of people in the air and on the ground to make that happen," said Lt. Col. Dave Jorgensen, the 414th CTS deputy commander.

"Our role is to maximize training for those of us who need it, and our responsibilities are to the aircrews and the people who launch and recover them," said Col. John Quintas, Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "We're going to work very hard to make sure everyone gets the training they need while we're here. We have to be able to adapt and flex to anything and everything that happens."

The exercise doesn't just include a team forming an air expeditionary wing and going through the motions. Those here as a part of Red Flag deal with an aggressor force.

Known as the red force, aggressors are trained to challenge Red Flag participants on all aspects of war and serve as enemy pilots, space jammers, cyberspace infiltrators, and even dig through trash on occasion to challenge their counterparts.

Practicing smart operations security prepares Red Flag warriors for a different aspect of warfighting.

"The Nellis aggressor force provides the environment for all pilots from the youngest wingman to the most experienced instructor in the 44th Fighter Squadron the chance to improve and refine tactics and procedures by using adaptability and airmanship that will translate into the combat edge required to ensure regional security," Colonel Molineux said.

At Red Flag, Kadena AB Airmen will hone their combat flying skills required to provide for the common defense of Okinawa: a primary mission for the 18th Wing, the deputy commander said.