August 4, 2014 (by Ashley M. Wright ) - To sharpen their combat power skills, more than 120 personnel and 12 F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron completed two weeks of joint training at Nellis Air Force Base, ending July 25.
Three F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th FW, Tyndall AFB, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd ARS, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, July 17, 2014, over the Nevada Test and Training Range. [USAF photo by A1C Thomas Spangler]
"This was a significant step forward for the 95th FS
operations and maintenance team in our effort to declare full operational capability," said Lt. Col. Erik Gilbert, 95th FS commander. "The training was great, but most impressive was the hard work demonstrated by all; especially our young maintainers on the line in the middle of the Las Vegas summer. The 95th Aircraft Maintenance Unit was unbelievable in their persistence, stamina and motivation to keep the jets flying and win the war."
The exercise, known as Red Flag 14-3, was conducted on the Nevada Test and Training Range, according to the Nellis website. Red Flag provides a peacetime "battlefield" where combat air forces can train. Inside this battlefield, aircrews train to fight together, survive together and win together.
"We flew various mission sets that simulated real world scenarios," said Capt. Andrew Van Timmeren, 95th FS weapons assistant and F-22 pilot. "The training was a challenge as we worked to accomplish the mission with over 60 aircraft."
This large scale scenario had the "Boneheads" acting as fighter escorts, providing air protection for the rest of the coalition forces. The 57th Wing aggressors from Nellis played the role of air, surface and even information adversaries to the fifth generation F-22s.
"It was really good training," Van Timmeren said. "We did well. It makes us all the more ready to go down range if needed."
The 20 pilots and more than 100 maintainers for the 95th AMU ran full time for the two week period providing an even more realistic scenario for the warfighters.
"We were at 24 hour operations," said Master Sgt. James Wilson, 95th AMU production superintendent. "We worked long hours, but [the maintainers] came in eager to get the aircraft ready for the next day's sorties. It was awesome."
The mission of the 95th FS is projecting unrivaled combat power supporting national military objectives and Combatant Commander requirements through strategic application of fifth generation air dominance fighter aircraft and personnel. The squadron reactivated in October 2013 and declared initial operating capability in the spring of this year as the last of 24 F-22 transferred from Holloman AFB
, N.M. bringing more than 1,000 additional personnel to Tyndall.
"It's great to see Team Tyndall in action and the resulting success," Gilbert said. "The outstanding performance of all personnel involved leaves no doubt that we are ready for the combat mission when our great nation calls."
Within a one year period, more than 1,200 aircraft fly 20,000 plus sorties while training more than 26,750 personnel, the Nellis website said. Each exercise normally involves a variety of interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft.