February 2, 2013 (by SrA Daniel Hughes) - "You can't walk into the Super Bowl with a new team," said Master Sgt. Brian McRory, 480th Fighter Squadron superintendent, "The team has to have worked together and have chemistry."
Two F-16C block 50s #96-0080 & #91-0343 from the 480th FS and an F-22 Raptor, 199th FS, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam prepare to refuel during Red Flag 13-2 above the Nevada Test and Training Range on January 25th, 2013. [USAF photo by A1C. Jason Couillard]
That is what Red and Green Flags are doing for the 480th FS
and the 555th FS from Aviano Air Base, Italy
Due to a unit deactivation at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, the 480th FS had a manning void that was filled by 50 Airmen from Aviano AB.
"We welcomed them into our family," McRory said, "These Airmen have been going to dinners and outdoor activities with each other to get to know one another."
"We knew coming into a different unit that we would have to work hard to show we could work to their standards," said Staff Sgt. Michael White, a crew chief now assigned to 480th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. "It's a brotherhood."
Red and Green Flag exercises give Airmen the opportunity to train in realistic combat scenarios.
"It's important to practice like you're going to play," White said, "I feel our Airmen and their Airmen have learned a lot from each other, and I feel they're really focused on what the mission is down range now."
The two exercises give Airmen with little to no experience the opportunity to work with people who have more experience in a training environment before they have to perform in a deployed location.
"The exercises give us the opportunity to say, 'you have never done this before, go train on it with someone who is proficient," McRory said. "We aren't trying to push jets as fast as we can. We are taking our time and putting out combat ready jets."
The fighter squadron heads back to Germany when the exercises are done.
"All of our Airmen should feel extremely proud of their accomplishments; they have worked exceptionally hard this month producing [more than] 400 sorties, loaded 57,000 pounds of precision guided munitions, and [more than] 20,000 20 mm rounds," said Lt. Col. Cameron Caroom, 480th Fighter Squadron commander. "More important than those numbers though, we've built a cohesive team. The exercises were a great benefit to the 480th as we prepare to deploy down range."