HomeNewsArticle Display

Canadian exercise trains new generation of Dobbins C-130 warfighters

German special forces paratroopers participate in tactical equipment unload from a 94th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules at Meadow Lake Airstrip in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, on June 3, 2016 during Maple Flag 49. The international exercise prepared allied forces for tactical global operations, while fostering multi-national coordination and cooperation. (Royal Canadian Army photo/Cpl. Manuela Berger)

German special forces paratroopers participate in tactical equipment unload from a 94th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules at Meadow Lake Airstrip in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, on June 3, 2016, during Maple Flag 49. The international exercise prepared allied forces for tactical global operations, while fostering multinational coordination and cooperation. (Royal Canadian Army photo/Cpl. Manuela Berger)

Tech. Sgt. Mark Hanson, 700th Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules loadmaster and exercise planning cell coordinator, and Capt. Frank Stautz, German special forces jump master, load parachute cargo onto a 94th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules aircraft in Alberta, Canada, on June 7, 2016, during Maple Flag 49. Paratroopers jumped over Jimmy Lake, Saskatchewan during the international exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. James Branch)

Tech. Sgt. Mark Hanson, a 700th Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules loadmaster and exercise planning cell coordinator, and Capt. Frank Stautz, a German special forces jump master, load parachute cargo onto a 94th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules in Alberta, Canada, on June 7, 2016, during Maple Flag 49. Paratroopers jumped over Jimmy Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada, during the international exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. James Branch)

German special forces paratroopers exit via static line jump from a 94th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules aircraft over Jimmy Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada, on June 7, 2016, during Maple Flag 49. The international exercise prepared allied forces for tactical global operations, while fostering multi-national coordination and cooperation. (Royal Canadian Army photo/Cpl. Manuela Berger)

German special forces paratroopers exit via static line jump from a 94th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules over Jimmy Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada, on June 7, 2016, during Maple Flag 49. The international exercise prepared allied forces for tactical global operations, while fostering multi-national coordination and cooperation. (Royal Canadian Army photo/Cpl. Manuela Berger)

ALBERTA, Canada (AFNS) -- More than 70 Airmen from the 94th Airlift Wing recently took part in Maple Flag 49, an annual international air exercise, at 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta.

Each year, allied forces from around the world seek to prepare their service members for tactical global operations. They came together from May 30-June 10 for air-to-air, air-to-surface and close air support operations in a simulated combat environment.

Participating for the third time, the wing sought to invest its resources into its future fighting force.

Lt. Col. Thomas Moffatt, the 700th Airlift Squadron director of operations and 94th AW Maple Flag mission commander, designed a detailed plan to meet that objective.

“Our objective is to provide Air Force Reserve Command with combat ready aircrew members,” Moffatt said. “A unique way we approach Maple Flag is that we put our up and coming pilots in positions of authority. They serve as aircraft commanders. The more experienced aircrew members serve as planners and mentors, providing guidance to the less experienced. This helps us to develop skilled tactical warfighters.”

From the aircraft commanders, co-pilots, planning cells, and maintenance personnel to aircrew life support, all first-time exercise attendees took advantage of the experience passed on from veteran Maple Flag participants.

“The unique thing about Maple Flag is that it offers us control of our scenarios, so we can give our aircrews the training they need,” said Capt. Jamie Atkinson, a 700th AS C-130 Hercules pilot and aircraft commander. “It allowed us to work with different weapon systems, as well as air and ground forces from different countries.

“From a planner's perspective, the challenge was learning how to integrate these different weapon systems and tactics while being able to put together an effective mission plan,” he added. “For the aircrews flying the missions, we had to make sure we were meeting our objectives, while flying in an environment that was always changing due to enemy threats, weather or other sources.”

Since their first Maple Flag exercise in 2013, 94th AW members have taken the opportunity to participate whenever their schedule allows.

“The timeline for this annual exercise works great for us because it gives us a year on to participate, and a year off to fulfill our deployment obligation,” Moffatt said. “It’s a win for both the 94th AW and AFRC.”

Although Maple Flag 47 in 2014 was a big operation for AFRC with eight C-130s participating from various wings, there were significant changes this year for Maple Flag 49.

According to Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Vuri Mokievsky-Zubok, the Maple Flag deputy lead planner, exercise 47 was reduced due to real-world commitments. The normal NATO fighter aircraft did not participate, reducing the scenarios to transport aircraft only.

This year, Canadian, French, German and Belgium fighter aircraft were present.

Tactical aircraft participation included air-to-air refueling aircraft, airborne warning and control systems, long-range patrol aircraft, tactical helicopters and C-130s from the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

“We had a record number of participants this year,” Mokievsky-Zubok said. “We hope to get even more for Maple Flag 50.”

Aircrews from the 94th AW flew two rotations per day, one four-ship formation in the morning, teaming up with members of the Kentucky Air National Guard, and a two-ship formation in the afternoon from the Edmonton International Airport in Alberta.

Early morning missions were comprised of paratrooper and equipment airdrops, and then it was off to the 4,478-square-mile air weapons range at the Air Force Tactical Training Center in Cold Lake.

“The range was very challenging,” Atkinson said. “It gave us the opportunity to fully employ our tactics in a low-level training environment. On our local low-level routes at home station, we have restrictions on how low we can fly due to the populated areas in Atlanta. We were able to fly a true low-level while in the range at Cold Lake.”

According to the squadron aviation resource manager, aircrews logged 101 flying hours and performed 54 sorties in simulated combat missions.

“This is by far the best training exercise I’ve ever experienced,” Atkinson said. “A lot (of) real-world training was provided with each mission flown.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Commander @PACAF Gen Brown & I just arrived in #Vietnam. What an honor to be here. We look forward to meeting Amb Krit…
RT @HQ_AFMC: Congrats to @HAFB for winning a @ENERGY award for #energy efficiency! From facility improvements to solar arrays, the teams at…
RT @AF_TFXC: Training camp is underway for Air Force Cross Country. Tonight, the upperclassman received their #CommitmentKits, symbolic of…
RT @USAFHealth: Lt. Col. Glenn Mandeville's commitment to his community goes beyond his Air Force service and into his everyday life as a g…
RT @AFResearchLab: No, you're not looking through The Predator's helmet, this is a simulated residual stress field due to multi-shot laser…
RT @CoachTimHorton: Congrats to my mentor and former ⁦@AF_Football⁩ Coach ⁦@FisherDeBerry⁩ on being named the recipient of the 6th annual T…
RT @DeptofDefense: Friday reflection. @usairforce airmen prepare to wash an A-10 Thunderbolt II at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The…
RT @OKGuard: Photo of the Day: Four F-16 Vipers from the @138thFW fly in formation behind a @usairforce KC-135 Stratotanker during a sortie…
RT @EielsonAirForce: The last #REDFLAGAlaska of the year ends today! Here’s what the participants accomplished during RF-A 19-3. @RCAF_ARC
RT @DeptofDefense: Picture perfect. A @usairforce airman assigned to a forward area refueling point program, poses in front of a C-17 Glob…
RT @DOD_Outreach: The @AF_Academy Wings of Blue parajumpers jump out of a C-130 Hercules during a performance for more than 70,000 visitors…
RT @PACAF: .@usairforce medical personnel led a mass casualty exercise to give realistic training scenarios in support of Pac Angel 19-3 #M
RT @Travis60AMW: Beats the garage I have at my place ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Check out this C-17's home when it's not out delivering cargo! #NoBounds #Pr
RT @ArmedwScience: Do you know B.A.T.M.A.N.? Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided Knowledge is the @AFResearchLab's advanced technology de…
RT @AETCommand: How are you staying active today? Last Saturday, Airmen from @HollomanAFB, @CannonAFB_ & @KIRTLAND377ABW competed in the "B…
RT @AETCommand: In order to support #readiness & build a more #lethal force, leaders must foster & promote resilience among their Airmen. D…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, Lt Gen Briguez said it best, our relationship is etched in stone — iro…
RT @HQAirUniversity: What is @usairforce culture? AU's Command Chief Simmons talks about organizational culture and how the actions modele…
RT @thejointstaff: #DYK today marks the 70th anniversary of the Chairmanship? Watch recently discovered footage from the historic swearing…
This week really flew by fast. Be sure to #Follow, #Like & #RT our @AFThunderbirds for more info on the premiere a… https://t.co/5BM8N7sZTR