435th CTS hosts first full AFFORGEN Silver Flag exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Madelyn Keech
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 435th Construction and Training Squadron hosted their first full Air Force Force Generation Silver Flag mission qualification course at Ramstein Air Base, July 24-28.

More than 150 total force U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron, Air National Guard Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, 151st Civil Engineer Squadron, Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Utah, and 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, attended this year’s Silver Flag course.

Silver Flag is one of the first Air Force exercise programs to align with the new AFFORGEN deployment model. Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, hosted the Air Force’s first Silver Flag course for its Airmen in the AFFORGEN deployment cycle earlier this year.

The participating civil engineers were tasked with deployment in the AFFORGEN cycle and were qualified on required wartime tasks. The mission qualification course tested the Airmen’s ability to build a bare base, respond to base attacks and rapidly recover airfields all while living in a simulated deployed environment for the week.

“This exercise gives all the participating members a chance to work as a team,” said Master Sgt. Nicholas Barnum, 435th CTS emergency services contingency training section chief. “The strategic level is our assessment of this expeditionary air base. [The results] go to the MAJCOM, and that gives a higher validation of the skills the Airmen have received and ensures our units in the Air Force are prepared to deploy.”

Silver Flag builds on the multi-capable Airman concept. Participants performed duties outside of their day-to-day jobs, which they might be required to do in a real-world situation. The qualification course is required for civil engineers every three years or before a deployment.

The course also allows for the Airmen to work together with different career fields, helping them become more fluent in tasks they might be less familiar with.

The mission qualification course acts as another building block to continue strengthening foundational skills learned at the Airmen’s home station. The Airmen put those skills to the test at Silver Flag while being observed and graded by 435th CTS cadre.

“These skills are necessary not only for my job, but for every job to know before you go to any sort of deployed environment because there is no reaching back for help,” said Senior Airman Nicholas Maley, 52nd CES explosive ordnance disposal technician. “It is all up to you to take what you are given and be able to produce good work out of it.”

Exercises like Silver Flag are important to ensure Airmen are ready to complete the mission at any time and in any location, especially in contested environments.