by Airman 1st Class Amber Carter
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
11/13/2015 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airmen
from Travis Air Force Base, California, recently participated alongside
other Airmen from various bases, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the
Singapore air force, in the week-long total-force exercise Gunfighter
The joint advanced combat operations training exercise took place from Nov. 2 to 6 near Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.
"Approximately 13 different airframes participated," said Capt. Chad
Murray, 6th Air Refueling Squadron chief of tactics. "Exercise
Gunfighter Flag is part of Red Flag geared towards different combat
Red Flag is the Air Forces premier air-to-air combat training exercise.
Participants often include both United States and allied nation's combat
"The training touched on all combat situations such as offensive,
defensive counter air, destruction of enemy air defenses, high value
targeting and search and rescue," Murray said. "Our role is contributing
different assets, helping support the fight in terms of operating in a
contested environment by keeping the tankers close to the fight but not
too close that they will be a target. We also kept track of the
Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Materiel Command
participated alongside the Air National Guard, Army National Guard, U.S.
Navy and the Republic of Singapore air force unit, to complete the
"This kind of exercise allows for different airframes and capabilities
from the Air Force to come together and work together to figure out what
everyone's limitations are," Murray said. "As a tanker pilot, knowing
their limitations helps to make the mission more effective."
Another benefit was the specialized training for the boom operators.
"Refueling fighters is a challenge because they move fast and we have to
keep up with their speed," said Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Forrider,
6th ARS boom operator student who participated in exercise Gunfighter
Training as a boom operator involves different phases of training and
specific tasks that must be performed before they can be deployable.
"They come up in flights instead of one at a time when compared to
heavies like another KC-10 and the receptacle is smaller," said Staff
Sgt. Daniel Long, 6th ARS boom operator instructor. "The students will
get a chance to refuel fighters during the day and at night which is
part of their qualification training to go from a flying boom, local
refuels, to mission boom, world-wide refuels."
Airframes such as the KC-10 Extender, C-5M Super Galaxy, RQ-4 Global
Hawk, HH-60 Pave Hawk, E-3 Sentry, EA-6B Prowler and multiple F-15
models worked together to achieve the same goal.
"We got a chance to operate with players that we don't normally get to
train with at Travis," Murray said. "Without question, we practice like
we play to make sure we are always ready. Joint training is great
because when we get downrange there is no delineation of services. We
may wear different patches but we are fighting the same war.
Understanding the differences of the services is helpful and
understanding that we are much more effective together is important to
accomplishing every mission."