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EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 23-1 is a Pacific Air Forces sponsored exercise that began Oct. 6, 2022.

The purpose of the exercise is to enhance the combat readiness of U.S. and international forces by providing realistic combat training. This is not only to improve the lethality of our pilots but to improve the skills of all airmen sent to participate in the event.

“This is a great opportunity for all bases in the Pacific to gain experience,” said Capt. Marlon Bradley, RF-A 23-1 maintenance commander. “The theory is that if pilots can get through 10 combat scenarios, the likelihood of them surviving actual combat increases dramatically.”

The Air Force’s maintenance airmen are the backbone of its air power; This is the reason why its aircraft are always capable and ready to be anywhere in the world at any time.

The goal is to provide maintenance members with the experience necessary to be able to do their job in any location and any environment. To do this, exercise planners select qualified personnel to witness the exercise who can then share their experiences and lessons learned with their teammates once they return to their home stations.

“We typically choose qualified Level 5 and 7 who are medically cleared to deploy,” Bradley said. “All of the Air Force specialty codes that we use for day-to-day operations at home are required for deployment to include the Maintenance and Logistics Readiness Squadron.”

Local units have set up maintenance teams to be successful and able to overcome any obstacles they may face while in Alaska.

“We prepare our deployment kits to ensure we have enough tools and spares to support deployed operations,” Bradley said. “Plus, we prepare for the docking station every day.”

Throughout this exercise, maintainers can apply and hone their skills while interacting with a new environment and have the chance to interact with personnel assigned to other units around the world.

“Coming to RED FLAG-Alaska has expanded my abilities as a team leader by challenging me to adapt to constant change,” said Senior Airman Adrian Foster, 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit team leader. aircraft. “With all the possible difficulties our work can cause, it certainly allowed me to have a different perspective on possible solutions and kept me on my toes to come up with them faster and more effectively.”

For many maintainers of the RF-A 32-1, this iteration is their first chance to experience USAF operations outside of their first posting.

“I’m very happy to be here! This is my first TD assignment. It’s fun to work in a different environment and be part of RED FLAG-Alaska,” said Airman 1st Class Kyle Daley, 44th Air Maintenance Unit Crew Chief

The exercise also allows them to work in environments to which they are not accustomed and to have new experiences that they would not have at their home position.

“Alaska was an eye opener with its multiple beautiful landscapes of wildlife and nature at its best,” Foster said. “Once you get past the coldness, you can definitely enjoy the happiness it has to offer.”

The work of a maintenance airman is not limited to turning a key; it’s about making the US Air Force the deadliest and best-trained in the world.

“Our mission is to generate mission-capable jets to perform successful sorties and enable our pilots to conduct the training necessary for real-world instances,” Foster said.