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‘Tigers’ launch jets to kickoff Red Flag 13-3
79th Fighter Squadron ‘Tigers’ pilots sit stacked on the Nellis AFB runway ramp with a view of the Las Vegas, Nev., skyline before taking off on their night missions during day one of Red Flag 13-3, Feb. 25, 2013. The ‘Tigers’ launched a total of 16 times during day and nighttime missions to kick off the exercise. The unit has approximately 15 F-16 Fighting Falcons on the ground at Nellis AFB and 35 pilots slated to fly throughout the three-week long exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston/Released)
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'Tigers' launch jets to kickoff Red Flag 13-3

Posted 2/27/2013   Updated 2/27/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


2/27/2013 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- The 79th Fighter Squadron "Tigers" launched eight F-16 Fighting Falcons during a day and night time mission to kickoff of Red Flag 13-3 here Feb. 25.

The 79th FS, commanded by Lt. Col. Jason Plourde, led members of his unit from takeoff to landing as the exercise kicked off .

The unit out of Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., has approximately 15 F-16 Fighting Falcons on the ground here and 35 pilots slated to fly throughout the three-week long exercise.

As Red Flag gets underway, Plourde plans to ensure the men and women of his unit train hard and meet quite a few set objectives.

"I have several goals for the squadron during Red Flag," Plourde said. "First, every pilot will become more proficient and experienced at operating in an extremely challenging contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment against a very robust surface and airborne threat array."

While members of the 79th FS conduct similar types of training at Shaw, Red Flag offers a more vast and more challenging environment to train in, Plourde explained.

"At Shaw, we do train to contested and degraded operations, as well as a fairly realistic surface and air threat," Plourde continued. "However, Red Flag and Nellis AFB offer significantly challenging and realistic adversaries -- many more threats and in large, less restrictive airspace than is available at our home station."

While Plourde pushes members of the 79th FS to meet goals and hone skills, the top goal he hopes to reach is the sustainment of sufficient combat training in preparation for any real world missions his unit may be called on to do.

"I expect each pilot will build their confidence and proficiency at dominating the Red Flag threats, which is an essential building block to preparation for actual combat at the highest level," Plourde said.

As day turned to night and 79th pilots completed their last missions to round out day one of Red Flag, members of the fighter squadron were exhausted but ready for challenges the next days and weeks will bring.

The missions conducted during the first day were challenging, but 79th pilots feel they will provide plenty of opportunity for lessons learned, explained Capt. Ryan Miller, 79th weapons officer.



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