Airmen gain critical combat skills during RED FLAG-Alaska

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ryan Roth
  • 115 FW Public Affairs
Approximately 130 Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing participated in RED FLAG-Alaska, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, August 7-22, refreshing skills and working in real-world scenarios to test their abilities in a high-paced environment.

RED FLAG-Alaska flying exercises took place in the Joint Pacific Range Complex over Alaska as well as portions of the Western Canadian airspace. The entire airspace was made up of military operations areas, special use airspace and ranges, totaling an airspace larger than the state of Wisconsin. As many as 70 jet fighters can operate in the airspace at any given time.

The 176th Fighter Squadron conducted advanced aerial combat training incorporating different mission design series aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor, E-3 Sentry, A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Mission sets included offensive counter air and defensive counter air against an advanced enemy integrated air defense system, said Col. Steve Kensick, 176 FS operations group commander.

"It's a great opportunity for the pilots to get a chance to fly in a different environment, drop live munitions, and fly against multiple aircraft," said Maj. Tom Nunamaker, 115 FW deployed maintenance commander.

By providing scenarios using worldwide threats and simulated combat conditions, RED FLAG-Alaska gives pilots an opportunity to gain experience required for combat. Aircrews are not the only ones receiving great training.

"The 115th Fighter Wing maintenance group personnel had a chance integrate within the active duty wing, and practice building & loading inert, live laser and GPS weapons," Kensick said.
Airman 1st Class Samantha Quesnell, 115 FW aerospace ground equipment, was one of the maintenance Airmen to integrate.

"When I come in for guard drill, I am working on a piece of equipment and making sure it is ready for monthly inspection," Quesnell said. "It's a fast tempo here, moving equipment around and coordinating with other units to make sure things go smoothly."