FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The second red flag of the summer included some of the United States' closest allies, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Captain Loren Keisling says the classification for this Red Flag exercise is different so they are all located in the same building. "So you get to really use that opportunity to learn from each other and most of that learning occurs in the debrief," said Loren Keisling, 19-3 team chief.
Lieutenant Colonel John DeLion is stationed in Japan and says he brought almost his whole squadron up to benefit from the unique training opportunity. DeLion says the mission of Red Flag is to have young airmen experience their first ten simulated combat missions before going to combat.
"The intent is when they go to combat or if they go to combat, it's not the first time they're seeing it and they can, what we call it, smoke a lucky, and just take a deep breath and go 'okay I know what to listen to, I know how to react, I know how this is going to go,' and they can execute at the high level in combat that they do in training," said Lt. Col. John DeLion, commander of the 6th fighter squadron.
DeLion says he likes the camaraderie that comes with training with the same people multiple times. "It's neat to see the same people over, and then you get to recognize their voice on the radio and go I know them, I know what they're capable of, we're gonna be okay here," said DeLion.
Keisling says planning for these exercises takes about 10 to 12 months and once the exercise is in action, it's his favorite part. "When you have all the aircraft taking off, you're back in there listening to the fight going on, that's the fun part of it, it's the reward after all the hard work of mission planning," said Keisling.
Now they can start preparing for the next Red Flag in the spring.
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