Mad Hatters support Noble Arrow

By Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron here, launched sorties as they began participation in Noble Arrow 16, Oct. 8.

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron takes off for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 11. The training prepares all air forces allocated to the NATO Response Force 2017 and offers similar training opportunities for participating, non-NRF, air units. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron takes off for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 11. The training prepares all air forces allocated to the NATO Response Force 2017 and offers similar training opportunities for participating, non-NRF, air units. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

Noble Arrow is a NATO air exercise conducted with Portugal and the U.K. to provide force integration and combat readiness preparation through varied air-to-air, air-to-surface and air-to-sea scenarios while strengthening allied force interoperability.

“We conduct training with our Allies and partners on a regular basis. These flying exercises improve interoperability between our defense forces and NATO Allies and partners,” said 1st Lt. Tristan Stewart, 492nd FS pilot. “NATO exercises like Noble Arrow assure our Allies that core capabilities are actively being trained to enhance the overall readiness of the alliance.”

The air exercise is being held in conjunction with exercises Joint Warrior, Noble Mariner and Unmanned Warrior, which combined ensure component capabilities to conduct NATO Response Force missions.

F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron prepare to launch for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 18. These combined training exercises increase cooperation in training, and further strengthens interoperability with NATO Allies in order to meet challenges as a unified force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron prepare to launch for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 18. These combined training exercises increase cooperation in training, and further strengthens interoperability with NATO Allies in order to meet challenges as a unified force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

Noble Arrow 16 increases cooperation in critical training, and further strengthens our interoperability with NATO Allies in order to meet challenges as a unified force, demonstrating U.S. commitment to European stability and security.

Two milestones with one bird

By Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs / Published August 22, 2016

When the announcement came through the radio that F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 would land in 10 minutes, Airmen of the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance and 335th Expeditionary Fighter squadrons prepared to celebrate a historic moment, Aug. 16, 2016.

The F-15E was the first to achieve 12,000 flying hours and the pilot, Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, attained a career milestone at the same time; reaching 3,000 flying hours after 25 years of service.

Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, and Capt. Matthew, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapon systems officer, prepare to disembark from F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after a milestone flight at an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. The jet attained 12,000 flying hours and Brandon achieved 3,000 flying hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, and Capt. Matthew, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapon systems officer, prepare to disembark from F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after a milestone flight at an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. The jet attained 12,000 flying hours and Brandon achieved 3,000 flying hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

“I have been lucky to have the privilege of flying this outstanding combat warhorse for over 16 years,” Brandon said. “Each one of those 3,000 hours, and 12,000 hours for the jet, represent countless hours from our Air Force team. As Strike Eagle aircrew, we are privileged to put bombs on target as a culmination of unbelievable efforts by thousands of others.”

The effort put into the maintenance and care of the jet has resulted in an impressive 26 year history since its commission in 1990, which has earned it the nickname “America’s Jet” within the unit, according to Chief Master Sgt. Roosevelt, 380th EAMXS STRIKE superintendent.

The aircraft has deployed 17 times in support of combat operations, to include operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Roosevelt said. It was during Operation Desert Storm that “America’s Jet” dropped a GBU-10 laser-guided bomb on an enemy helicopter in the only recorded F-15E air-to-air combat kill.

Senior Airman Bradley, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, apply a 12,000 flying hour decal to the side of F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after its milestone flight in an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. During the same flight, Brandon also achieved a career milestone of 3,000 flying hours after 25 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Senior Airman Bradley, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, apply a 12,000 flying hour decal to the side of F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after its milestone flight in an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. During the same flight, Brandon also achieved a career milestone of 3,000 flying hours after 25 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

The commemorative star decal on the side of the aircraft has served as a visual reminder of the event ever since, and now the jet has earned another milestone decal signifying the achievement of 12,000 flying hours.

“To reach this milestone it required almost 30 years of performing safe, compliant and efficient aircraft maintenance,” Roosevelt said. “12,000 hours is huge for a fighter, because Airmen actually get to see, feel and hear their impact to the mission, and understand how what they do is important.”

What makes this jet even more unique is that this milestone and the last one of 10,000 flying hours were both accomplished in deployed locations during operations Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve, he said.

The 380th EAMXS crew chiefs deployed with “America’s Jet” from Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and whether home or abroad, this aircraft is their pride and joy, according to Master Sgt. Richard, 380th EAMXS lead production superintendent.

“All of our aircraft have different temperaments, so to speak, but America’s Jet consistently outperforms all of our other jets,” Richard said. “We work hard to keep our aircraft in the air, so the 12,000 hour milestone is a testament to all of the maintainers who’ve kept her flying. That’s why we call her America’s Jet; because she is full of grit and fortitude, the embodiment of the American spirit, and has demonstrated this in every major conflict since Desert Storm.”

335th FS Strike Eagles reached 12,000 flight hour

Lt Col. Brandon Johnson, 335th Fighter Squadron commander, disembarks an F-15E Strike Eagle after returning from deployment, Oct. 12, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. During the deployment, Johnson’s aircraft reached its 12,000 flight hour milestone on Aug. 16, while Johnson also recorded his 3,000th flight hour during the same sortie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Lt Col. Brandon Johnson, 335th Fighter Squadron commander, disembarks an F-15E Strike Eagle after returning from deployment, Oct. 12, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. During the deployment, Johnson’s aircraft reached its 12,000 flight hour milestone on Aug. 16, while Johnson also recorded his 3,000th flight hour during the same sortie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

4th FW F-15E Strike Eagles kicks off Razor Talon

Several F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft prepare for takeoff during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is a low-cost, large-force training exercise for joint East Coast tactical and support aviation units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Miranda A. Loera)

Several F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft prepare for takeoff during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is a low-cost, large-force training exercise for joint East Coast tactical and support aviation units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Miranda A. Loera)

An F-15E Strike Eagle waits to taxi to the runway during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is an initiative developed by Seymour Johnson AFB to allow joint integration and training opportunities for every branch of the armed forces.

An F-15E Strike Eagle waits to taxi to the runway during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is an initiative developed by Seymour Johnson AFB to allow joint integration and training opportunities for every branch of the armed forces.

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Lt. Col. Paul Jeffords, 336th Fighter Squadron pilot, boards an F-15E Strike Eagle to participate in Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The training mission marked Jeffords’ final flight for the 336th FS as he will take over as commander of the 4th Operations Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Miranda A. Loera)

 

 

 

 

194th Fighter Squadron deploy to Atlantic Resolve

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 194th Fighter Squadron pilot, communicates with Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, during a preflight inspection at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 194th Fighter Squadron pilot, communicates with Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, during a preflight inspection at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert and Airman 1st Class Michael Bowen, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, conduct a preflight inspection on an F-15 Eagle at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert and Airman 1st Class Michael Bowen, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, conduct a preflight inspection on an F-15 Eagle at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

  A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing takes off at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15s from the 144th FW to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)


A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing takes off at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15s from the 144th FW to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

Schmidt eclipses 3,000 hours on final F-15E flight

By Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations is sprayed down by friends and family members following his final F-15E Strike Eagle flight June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt eclipsed 3,000 hours in the Strike Eagle and was greeted by many to celebrate the occasion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations and pilot, and Maj. Timothy Foery, 334th FS weapon systems officer, take off for a flight in the F-15E Strike Eagle June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt was completing his final flight in the aircraft, also surpassing 3,000 hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations and pilot, and Maj. Timothy Foery, 334th FS weapon systems officer, take off for a flight in the F-15E Strike Eagle June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt was completing his final flight in the aircraft, also surpassing 3,000 hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations is sprayed down by friends and family members following his final F-15E Strike Eagle flight June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt eclipsed 3,000 hours in the Strike Eagle and was greeted by many to celebrate the occasion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations is sprayed down by friends and family members following his final F-15E Strike Eagle flight June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt eclipsed 3,000 hours in the Strike Eagle and was greeted by many to celebrate the occasion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

 

 

Crushing It: 48th FW breaks sortie record

by Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/1/2016 – ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — When the 48th Fighter Wing set out to fly more than 1,000 sorties during what was dubbed ‘Big March’, a total of 1,220 sorties were scheduled, in anticipation of flight cancellations due to bad weather.

But, the 48th FW exceeded expectations and flew a staggering 1,238 sorties, toppling the previous record of 938 sorties flown in August 2015.

Maintainers at the 48th FW pushed tool carts up to a mile and a half to the protective aircraft shelters and hangars where the jets and helicopters awaited them. Aircrew suited up and settled into their aircraft, ready for another day of flying. Utilizing only 20 days during the month of March, Liberty Airmen pushed their limits and surpassed records, launching more than 1,200 sorties.

“We crushed the record, but that wasn’t the goal,” stated Col. Scottie Zamzow, 48th Operations Group commander. “The goal was to sharpen the sword; stress the machine, so that when we were done, we were more combat ready than when we started.”

Airmen assigned to the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final maintenance checks on 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagles at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 7, 2016. The 48th Fighter Wing flew a record-breaking 1,238 sorties during the month of March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

Airmen assigned to the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final maintenance checks on 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagles at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 7, 2016. The 48th Fighter Wing flew a record-breaking 1,238 sorties during the month of March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

 The surge operations resulted in more than crushed records. March’s success directly impacted the wing’s capabilities, but required the determination of every Airman involved.

“The epitome of ‘Forward, Ready, Now’ is what we’ve just accomplished,” explained Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Stewart, 48th Maintenance Group superintendent.

“We’re talking about refueling 1,200 sorties; we’re talking about tracking 1,200 sorties,” Stewart continued, in regards to the increased workloads for the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 48th Operations Support Squadron, respectively. “Airmen on the flightline, that may have turned a wrench five times on one specific job in six months, got to do it five times in one month because we were flying that many sorties.”

Stewart’s pride in the MXG’s ability to step up and achieve more than had been expected, shone through as he spoke of the great boost to morale that resulted from the sense of accomplishment the Airmen could now own, and how it improved communication and leadership skills. However, he also noted that those benefits were secondary. The primary focus was the combat readiness of the aircrew.

Every aircrew member is required to meet certain standards, but one young lieutenant’s accomplishment during the surge operations stuck out to Lt. Col. Connor Blackwood, 48th OG deputy commander. The lieutenant wanted to hone a tactical skill that would allow him to gain an advantage against enemy aircraft, and Blackwood had six sorties in two days to teach him.

“The first day he didn’t get it, but by the second day, about the second flight, it finally clicked and he was able to stay behind me and get in position to take the shot,” Blackwood recounted. “Something that would have taken six months to accomplish under normal training conditions took only two days. You bet, for that lieutenant, that meant everything! Now he is going to be a better Wingman.”

Blackwood remarked that the pilot’s goal didn’t have anything to do with a lofty desire to break a sortie record, but had been to realize his own capabilities and improve his ability to perform as a pilot.

Broken records were a side note compared to the accomplishments across the groups involved in sortie operations according the MXG and OG leadership.

“We are all Liberty Airmen,” Zamzow said. “Whether you’re an aviator, a controller in the tower, a maintainer or a refueler, we love to fly aircraft, we love to fix aircraft, we love to control aircraft, and we love to fuel aircraft. You let us do our primary job, and we’re going to love it, and we’re going to have a good time.”

The results of Big March mean one thing: the Liberty Wing is postured to do anything, anywhere in the world. ‘Forward, Ready, Now’. It was just another day at RAF Lakenheath.

104th Fighter Wing To Deploy in Support of Operation Atlantic Resolve

 

Master Sgt. Julie Avey, Public Affairs Specialist
Lt. Col. Brenda Hendricksen, Public Affairs Officer

(3/31/2016 – Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, Mass.) – The 104th Fighter Wing here will be deploying over 200 unit members, 12 F-15 Eagle aircraft and associated equipment in support of multiple NATO objectives in Europe.

While in the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Area of Responsibility, the 104th FW will support the NATO Air Surveillance mission in Iceland as part of a Theater Security Package in support of NATO alliance commitments.  The unit will also deploy to Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, and other European NATO and partner nations.
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The unit will conduct training alongside our NATO allies and partners to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to a Europe that is whole, free, at peace, secure, and prosperous.

“As Citizen Airmen we continue to support the National Security both home and abroad with partner nations and allies,” said Col. James Keefe, Commander of the 104th FW. “Our Guardsmen are on duty accomplishing missions they train for every day at Barnes and are an enduring choice for security cooperation and building partnerships. Our defense relationships with allies like Iceland are critical to ensuring security for the United States and NATO.”

The Air National Guard has enduring long-term relationships with countries with similar values and interests, paramount for meeting defense goals in today’s global environment. The 104th FW Air Guardsmen provide critical support throughout the USAFE AOR by deploying and interacting with a variety of nations.

We represent America’s forward presence, standing alongside our proven, indispensable European allies and partners. Together, we are ensuring our security, protecting our global interests, and bolstering our economic bonds. We are able to maintain a global presence thanks to the combined efforts of our active duty, National Guard, and Reserve Forces.

The 104th FW is an operational flying unit assigned to the Air Combat Command, and proudly claims the honor of being one of the oldest flying units within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Recently the 104th received “Air Control Alert Unit of the Year” by the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region – 1st Air Force (CONR-1AF/AFNORTH).  A component of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) provides airspace surveillance and control and directs aerospace control activities for the continental United States (CONUS).

Tasked to provide operationally ready combat units, combat support units and qualified personnel for active duty, the 104th FW supports Air Force wartime contingency requirements and performs a variety of peacetime missions required by the Air Force and compatible mobilization readiness. One mission of the 104th is Aerospace Control Alert (ACA), providing armed fighters ready to scramble in a moment’s notice to protect the Northeast from any airborne threat. The unit is responsible for protecting a quarter of the nation’s population and one third of the Gross Domestic Product

493 FS Surge ops increases air traffic

by Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/9/2016 – ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — The 48th Fighter Wing’s jets are flying more sorties during the month of March.

 “We are exercising the ability to fly a massive amount of sorties in a short amount of time, and preparing our pilots for operations that are outside the norm, so that they are ready in a stressful environment, to go out and execute the mission they’ve been trained to do,” explained Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd Fighter Squadron director of operations.

F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron rest between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron rest between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)


On a typical day, one fighter squadron flies 14 sorties each, lasting about an hour and a half. But, this month, squadrons are scheduled to fly up to 54 sorties in one day.  During this time, instead of shutting down the jets after the morning and evening sorties, each jets will be refueled twice, allowing pilots three opportunities to better hone their skills.

“It’s a great experience for the pilot to stay in the jet, get refueled and do it again,” Zumwalt said. “The sorties are exhausting, and this training pushes pilots further, testing their limits, so they are ready at a moment’s notice and can successfully accomplish the mission. Your typical pilot may get between nine and 12 sorties a week, and, on average, that’s how many pilots get in a month.”

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final checks on F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final checks on F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis


Zumwalt explained that this surge in training allows pilots to practice executing difficult maneuvers with precision.

“A good example is a break turn,” Zumwalt explained. “It’s a defensive or offensive hard turn, high-g maneuver to turn the aircraft very rapidly. Now, I can go out and do three of those in a single sortie or I can go out and do 12 of them in a single day. What you’ll find is that, during that day, it’s a lot of muscle memory, and by hitting it all at once we are able to zero in on the perfect spot for execution.”

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

Airmen from the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron for the next sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS is a combat-ready F-15C squadron capable of executing air superiority and air defense missions in support of war plans and contingency operations for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, U.S. European Command and NATO. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)


The Liberty Wing and surrounding community communities can expect to hear more jets in the sky during the coming weeks. For every aircraft the Liberty Wing puts in the sky, there is a lot of work that goes on in the background and a lot of beneficial training that prepares our Airmen for future operations. Training consistently and occasionally pushing the limits keeps everyone on the ground and in the air Forward, Ready, Now

A view of the cockpit of an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron as it rests on the runway between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

A view of the cockpit of an F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron as it rests on the runway between sorties at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, March 7, 2016. The 493rd FS maintains the ability to rapidly generate, deploy, and sustain operations to execute wartime and peacetime taskings in any theater of operations in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

Team Seymour heads to Red Flag 16-2

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. –

By Airman Shawna L. Keyes, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Fourteen of the 4th Fighter Wing’s F-15E Strike Eagles took off for Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in support of Red Flag 16-2, Feb. 25.

The two-week long exercise began Feb. 29 and concludes March 11. The exercise aims to continue training crews in air, space and cyberspace in combat scenarios to prepare for overseas contingences.

Lt. Col. Lucas Teel, 336th Fighter Squadron commander, conducts pre-flight checks, Feb. 25, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Teel and 27 members of the squadron flew to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada to participate in Red Flag 16-2, a two-week long joint collision exercise with more than 60 other aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Lt. Col. Lucas Teel, 336th Fighter Squadron commander, conducts pre-flight checks, Feb. 25, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Teel and 27 members of the squadron flew to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada to participate in Red Flag 16-2, a two-week long joint collision exercise with more than 60 other aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

“Red flag is a large force joint collision exercise, so we got a lot of other players from other nations and other services,” said Maj. Gabe Lewis, 336th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. “The idea of Red Flag is to simulate those first couple days of combat so that when you go out into no kidding combat you’re not deer-in-the-headlights and you’re not struggling to keep up. It is the best exercise to prepare for combat.”

Red Flag was initiated in 1975 and is held annually on the Nevada Test and Training Range, providing realistic combat training for the United States and its allies. The range has more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land for the aircraft and crews to simulate a multitude of scenarios.

 

To help prepare for Red Flag and provide additional realistic training for today’s warfighters, members of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina developed a monthly exercise known as Razor Talon, which began in March 2011. It’s about half the size of Red Flag and is a low-cost, large-force training opportunity for joint East Coast tactical and support aviation units.

“Razor Talon provides a safe environment to train joint and combined warriors, using training battlespace available in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, to ensure they are prepared for operational challenges they are likely to face during a contingency,” said Lt. Col. Jason Watson, 4th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations and chief of Razor Talon.

Razor Talon operates with approximately 30 aircraft over the span of one day, whereas Red Flag combines more than 70 aircraft, including those from the Italian and Turkish Air Forces, with exercises spanning over two weeks.

“When I went to Red Flag six years ago we didn’t have Razor Talon,” Lewis said. “I would say the young guys we send out to Red Flag now are much better prepared having gone to Razor Talon before heading out.”