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By Airman 1st Class Julia Lebens
JBER Public Affairs
Red Flag-Alaska is a Pacific Air Forces sponsored exercise that provides realistic simulated combat training. Three C-130 Hercules and more than 100 reservists from the 934th Airlift Wing, the Flying Vikings, from Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station flew to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to participate in this year's second iteration of Red Flag Alaska.
“Red Flag prepares our aircrews to operate in one of the most challenging terrains and threat environments they could face,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Brandon Schrader, 96th Airlift Squadron Red Flag-Alaska Detachment Commander. “Integrating with other assets from the Air Force and other services provides us the best training experiences for our newer crewmembers, many of whom have never faced this level of integration. The simulated threats we face are the most realistic threats we could potentially encounter in combat.”
The 934th AW performed airborne operations with the U.S. Army 11th Airborne Division paratroopers, utilizing low-level flying maneuvers to evade a simulated opposing force en-route to the drop zone. The 934th AMXS maintainers also provided important support and benefited from training in a new environment.
In addition, the Flying Viking’s law enforcement trained with the 673d Security Forces Squadron.
“This temporary duty assignment has been a great learning experience,” said Senior Airman Ethan Scheibe, 934th Security Forces Squadron fire team member. “Being able to see and be a part of law enforcement operations here at JBER gives exposure to a different atmosphere.”
U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Kent Hallstrom, 934th Security Forces Squadron member, said that the benefits of RF-A at JBER for security forces includes networking, interactions with those participating in Red Flag, and education and training for Airmen.
Many 96th AS aircrew members also experienced different aspects of their career field.
“For many of my aircrew members, they have never operated in the same airspace with Combat Air Force airframes and other services aviation and ground assets,” Schrader said. “There is certainly a challenge that comes from working with other branches and airframes. However, once we learn each other’s strengths and capabilities and how to integrate effectively and employ together, it is pretty awesome what we can do.”
Red Flag is focused on improving combat readiness and serves as an ideal platform for joint engagement, allowing bases like the 934th AW to train in a realistic simulated combat scenario with other services and international forces.
Red Flag 22-2 takes place from June 9 to June 24, 2022, with 1,600 service members, three nations, and more than 70 supported aircraft from over 22 units.