Red Flag kicks off at Nellis

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Travis Edwards
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Nearly 60 aircraft and nine units, supported by 1,000 Airmen from across the United States and Belgium are taking part in the first Red Flag exercise of fiscal 2007, which began Oct. 10 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. 

The exercise that runs until Oct. 20 tests aircrews' warfighting skills in realistic combat situations during the day and night at the nearby Nevada Test and Training Ranges. 
This Red Flag will include F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-15 Eagles, Navy EA-6 Prowlers, C-130 Hercules, E-3 Sentries and KC-135 Stratotankers. 

Red Flag started in the 1970s when the Air Force determined if a pilot survived his first 10 combat missions; he had a better chance surviving the rest, Maj. Paul White, the Red Flag 7-1 team chief. 

"We do those first 10 missions here during Red flag," said Maj. White. "During the 10 days, the missions will become progressively more difficult, until the last day when we integrate everything the pilots learned into the hardest training scenario of the Flag." 

"This flag will be one of the smallest we have had in a long time," said Staff Sgt. Marques Moulds, NCO in charge of mission support. The last Red Flag featured more than 150 aircraft. 

One thing different about this Red Flag is there will be a few members from Red Flag Alaska coming here to learn how Nellis AFB officials conduct the exercise. 

The next Red Flag, which is scheduled for January through February of 2007, is expected to feature the F-22 Raptor. 

"Red Flag is constantly improving, whether it be from the addition of new warfighters or new intelligence from the war -- we are constantly trying to make the necessary changes to make the training as lifelike as possible," said Major White.