February 5, 2010 (by SrA Katie Spencer) - Two bases, two maintenance groups, two fighter squadrons and hundreds of Airmen all working together for one mission; a successful Red Flag.
USAF F-16C block 30s #87-0281 from the 93rd FS & #86-0245 from the 457th FS taxi onto the runway of Nellis AFB on February 3rd, 2010.
Airmen from the 482nd Fighter Wing at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., and the 301st Fighter Wing at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth, Texas, have merged into one unit, the 93rd Fighter Squadron, for the two-week long aerial combat training exercise.
Whether it is expertise in operating an F-16 in the air, the patience to manage air operations, or the skills keep the jet in flying condition, each unit has something to bring to the flight line.
"The merging of the two units gives us the opportunity to operate as if we were a full active duty base and it improves knowledge levels on both ends," said Chief Master Sgt. Guy Turpen, the NCO
in charge of Red Flag for Homestead ARB
and NAS JRB
Homestead ARB and NAS JRB Forth Worth first began their joint operation in 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since then, the units have deployed together three times for Air Expeditionary Force missions.
"The standardization between both units is vital for when we deploy overseas," Chief Turpen said. "Our synchronization helps us to conduct the operations more effectively thus ensuring AEF
"The more we work together and comply with 10th Air Force standards, the more we are able to operate efficiently from day one when we deploy," said Col. Rich Scobee, 301st FW commander.
The joining together of both units for a large deployment such as Red Flag can also present challenges.
" The logistics can be challenging due to the increase of manpower during this particular deployment," said Maj. David Sundlov, the project officer of Red Flag for Homestead ARB and NAS JRB Forth Worth. "Where the equipment is coming from, the lodging, the personnel requests and transportation are all planned out to the very last detail before departing the home bases."
Homestead ARB and NAS JRB Forth Worth are reserve units in the Air Force Reserve Command and are returning to Red Flag for the first time since 1994. The manpower and missions for the reserve units are not conducted on the same intensity level as Red Flag for regular operations; because of this, performance is crucial to maintain credibility.
"Red Flag gives the AFRC
community the ability to come out, participate and show what we do and how well we do it," said Lt. Col. Michael Reid, 482nd Maintenance Group commander. "Our work during this exercise shows the fruits of our efforts back home, and it portrays us as professionals at Red Flag."