Airmen train for worst-case scenarios at Red Flag

  • Published
  • By Navy Petty Officer A.C. Rainey
  • Det. 10, Air Force News Agency
When a pilot gets shot down in combat, it takes more than luck to bring him or her back home, which is why Red Flag-Alaska exercises prepare Airmen for any situation.

"(These exercises are going to) give some of our aircraft commanders and the people who are flying an idea of what to expect if a real world combat search and rescue incident occurs," said Staff Sgt. John Calder, a survival, evasion, resistance and escape, or SERE, specialist here.

"It's going to enhance their warfighting capabilities," he said. "Basically, it's going to give them the ability to react better to any situation in a real combat scenario."

While pilots in the air defend their "downed companions" from enemy attack, helicopter rescue teams locate the survivors who have been using tactics while on the ground they learned from SERE specialist.

"My expectations were to learn combat survival (skills) and hopefully be able to take them back to the rest of my squadron," said 1st Lt. Jonathan McCoy, a B1-B Lancer weapons systems operator. "This will make our survival better and also help make my combat aircrew better, so if I am shot down for some reason I can make the rescue happen quicker on my end and not be a delay.

With Red Flag focusing on communication between the services, the search and rescue exercises help more than just the individual warfighter.

"We deploy with different agencies so we need to train with these different agencies," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Robertson, a pararescueman with the Alaska Air National Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron. "Although we're all in the military and we all speak the military language there is a difference in the way we talk and we need to just bring those together." 

Red Flag-Alaska runs through June 16.

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