Military News

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Red Flag offers B-52 crews training that 'can't be beat'

by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/23/2015 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- As the sun blazes through the cloudless sky, a suffocating heat touches down on the Nellis Air Force Base flightline. A B-52H Stratofortress from the 69th Bomb Squadron sits, awaiting pre-flight checks for its upcoming Red Flag mission.

Red Flag provides realistic air combat missions in a training environment which ensures participating air and ground crews are better prepared for future real-world operations.

The 69th BS is one of many units taking advantage of the training Red Flag 15-3 offers.

"We got back from Guam last year and Red Flag was the next big thing on the docket, so we started focusing on that as early as possible," said Capt. Britt, 69th BS aircraft commander. "We wanted to focus on and show the (Combat Air Forces) what we could do so that when we got here our entire unit was on the same sheet of music, could perform as well as we could, and didn't' look like the slow ponies when we showed up."

The 69th BS brought four B-52 aircraft and approximately 180 Airmen to participate in Red Flag 15-3.

"We started talking about Red Flag about six month ago," Britt said. "However, I would say our real training program started three months ago, and we rolled through daily sorties. We started simulating what we expected to have here at Red Flag and carried that through so there weren't any big surprises when we got here."

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can perform a variety of missions such as strategic attack, close-air support, air interdiction, offensive counter-air and maritime operations.

"I don't think it's an unfair analogy to say that Red Flag is like the Super Bowl if you will," said 1st Lt. Joseph. "You plan for it, everybody else is getting ready for it in all separate places throughout the country and then all of a sudden, we all come together and integrate."

"We have this 'Seminole' moment where we are all learning together as a group. You're rubbing shoulders literally in the same building with all these people you've heard about throughout the year and you've trained to be able to integrate with, and now all of a sudden you're there and doing the mission," he added.

In addition to bringing the B-52 to Red Flag, the 69th BS has had the chance to gain valuable knowledge and training experience through the combat exercises presented at Red Flag.

"I would say at the unit level there is no better training than this in the world," Britt said. "It's definitely one of those things where there are people that have been to Red Flag and there's people that haven't and you're level of training, your level of expertise and skill increases significantly while you're here. Having all these assets and all the opportunities here at the same time, you simply can't beat it. It's the biggest bang for your buck."

Editor's note: Last names have been withheld due to operational security constraints.

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