by Airman 1st Class Jake Carter
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
8/31/2015 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- From
its inception in 1975, Red Flag exercises have tested military members'
combat capabilities in air, space and cyberspace. Red Flag 15-4, which
concluded here Aug.28, will close out the 40th anniversary of Red Flag.
Col. Jeffrey Weed, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander, expressed
his enthusiasm for the cohesion created between foreign allies and the
"I'm really impressed with the integration of foreign countries (for Red
Flag 15-4)," Weed said. "There is tremendous integration on their part
when they come," Weed said. "Also, this is the second time we've had
Virtual Flag as part of Red Flag as well."
Weed was also impressed with what U.S. forces were able to accomplish together during the exercise.
"Working with foreign countries has been a collective partnership," Weed
said. "There has also been great training with our sister service
Marine and Navy members. We had ground forces stay out in the field for
the entire exercise and have had the broadest jamming capabilities from
the Navy ever."
Joel Reed, a graphics artist assigned to the 414th CTS, has noticed the
change in Red Flag and integration since the very beginning of Red Flag
in 1975 when he was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base as a uniformed
Airman, and from 1992 when he became a civilian employee at the 414th
"The scope of the training for integrating has exploded," Reed said.
"The training use to be fighter-oriented but now it encompasses all of
the Air Force domains. The feedback from past participants has been
outstanding and one pilot who went on a deployment said he would have
been lost without the Red Flag training but with it, it had made
integrating with other countries a breeze."
With Red Flag training Airmen and other individuals in the air, space
and cyberspace domain, every Red Flag exercise brings in players that
are new to the exercise.
"Some of the differences from Red Flag are the different set of partners
that we have come out each time," Weed said. "For every Red Flag, we
usually have a quarter or a third amount of people who are new players
and there might have been even more than that for Red Flag 15-4."
During Red Flag exercises, it is common to see foreign counterparts
participating in the exercise, but with the 2016 Red Flags, countries
who haven't been to Red Flag in quite some time will make an appearance.
"For next year, Red Flag will be similar to this year with four
exercises occurring," Weed said. "For the second and fourth Red Flag, we
will be including foreign players which include the United Kingdom,
Australia, Turkey, Italy, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and Spain."
With integrating being a large part of Red Flag exercises, Weed noticed
that learning and teamwork is what can make a Red Flag exercise
"Learning is one of the biggest things you notice when Red Flag is
over," Weed said. "With the U.S. and foreign countries, the biggest
thing is learning or teamwork."
With Weed retiring in the near future, he has complete confidence in his
successor that he will be able to keep the mission going effectively.
"Red Flag 15-4 will be my last Red Flag," Weed said. "A good friend of
mine, Col. Greg Marzolf, Colorado State University Detachment 90, Air
Force ROTC training program commander, will be the new Red Flag
commander, but this will be his fourth tour at Nellis and I believe he
will do great."