June 6, 2008 (by SSgt. John Gordinier) - More than 125 Airmen and approximately 10 F-16s from the 55th Fighter Squadron are participating in a multinational exercise called Red Flag, which is hosted at Eielson AFB, Alaska, from June 3-21.
USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0380 of the 55th FS coming back from the range at Nellis AFB on November 7th, 2007.
Several allied countries are participating in the exercise, to include Japan, Germany, Australia and South Korea
, said Capt. Brian Hoose, 55th FS
F-16 pilot and chief of scheduling.
"Our missions for the exercise will primarily be close air support, offensive counter air and interdiction," the pilot said.
Red Flag was developed to simulate the tactics and stresses of combat as closely as possible, Captain Hoose said. It gives younger pilots the opportunity to put all of their training together in a realistic scenario. The training is something the (55th FS) can't accomplish at home station but is crucial, because it builds the pilot's experience and confidence.
During the exercise pilots and maintainers are going to be constantly challenged to meet the demands of the missions, Captain Hoose said. There is a lot of coordination and mission planning for the pilots, while maintainers ensure aircraft are ready and appropriately configured for the simulated combat missions. The days are typically 12 hours long and learning occurs from the start of the mission planning to the end of the debrief.
Even though the exercise has a high tempo, pilots look forward to the trip and experience.
"Alaska offers some of the best airspace in the world and June is the perfect time of year to be there," Captain Hoose said. "Not only will the flying be outstanding, but we will get to experience the midnight sun and other Alaska adventures."
"This Red Flag exercise is another in a string of TDYs geared to prepare the 55th Fighter Squadron for our Air Expeditionary Force rotation," said Lt. Col. Miles DeMayo, 55th FS commander. "The Alaskan ranges and the coalition participation will provide some unique opportunities and outstanding training for both our pilots and maintainers.
"Rest assured the 'Fighting 55th' is ready for the fight when our time comes," Lt. Col. DeMayo said.