Dyess Air Force Base, Texas -- Airmen with the 317th Airlift Wing participated in exercise RED FLAG Alaska 21-3 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Aug. 12 – 27, 2021. The exercise was designed to provide realistic training in a simulated combat environment.
Approximately 85 Airmen from the 317th Maintenance Group and 39th Airlift Squadron were tested on their capabilities as they practiced near peer composite force tactics and training in a mountainous environment.
“Both C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and combat Air Force platforms deliver effects to an objective area in order to meet the joint forces commander’s intent,” said Capt. Luke Roland, 39th Airlift Squadron weapons officer. “This exercise helped us improve our mindset to better understand how critical it is to work jointly with combat air forces in order to achieve the mission.”
Exercise RF-A 21-3 provided unique opportunities to integrate various forces into a joint and multilateral training environment that enabled the participants to take full advantage of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex as they worked together with their joint partners and allies.
Members of the 317th AW trained alongside their C-130J Super Hercules counterparts from the Royal Australian Air Force where they conducted an exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures while improving interoperability.
Throughout the exercise, Airmen simulated conducting air-to-air counter tactics against real-world F-16 Fighting Falcons and honed threat reactions against real-world missiles.
“The key to this exercise was the ability to fly with Royal Australian Air Force aircrew,” said Maj. Darshan Subramanian, 39th AS weapons officer. “The sharing of tactics, techniques and procedures between the two nations is critical in order to build partnerships with a key ally in the Pacific region.”
Another essential part of the exercise was the joint medical evacuation training that utilized the Dyess C-130Js, U.S. Army Alaska’s 1-52D Aviation Battalion UH-60s and combat controllers from the 212th Rescue Squadron.
During this training scenario, simulated patients were transferred from the UH-60s to the C-130Js which provided joint aeromedical evacuation training in an austere environment.
“Aeromedical evacuation is one of Air Mobility Command’s four key missions, this exercise was critical in ensuring combat readiness and protecting vulnerable patients in a combat zone,” Subramanian said. “This training helps our wing expand our full spectrum readiness in preparation for potential near peer conflicts.”
Participating in Red Flag Alaska 21-3 has enabled the 317th AW Airmen to hone and validate their tactics, techniques and procedures to defeat various threat systems in real-world scenarios.
“Red Flag has helped prepare our Airmen for real world scenarios by exposing them to real-world friendly, combat Air Force assets in a training environment,” Subramanian said. “It has also enabled the Airmen understand the amount of time, effort, planning and critical thinking needed to operate in higher threat levels and the value the tactical datalink brings to the C-130J in a higher end fight.”