MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Airmen and aircraft assigned to the 74th Fighter Squadron and the 23d Maintenance Group departed Thursday for a two-week long exercise at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.
Approximately 200 Airmen and 12 A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft will participate in Green Flag-West 17-03. The exercise is a realistic combat training exercise designed to provide combat training to joint and coalition warfighters in the art of air-land integration and the joint employment of airpower.
"Green Flag-West is an air-land integration exercise that we conduct with the Army,” said Lt. Col. Bryan France, 74th Fighter Squadron commander. “There are two large pieces to the exercise from a joint perspective. The Army conducts a large-force exercise from the ground at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, [Calif.], while the Air Force provides close air support to support these training objectives.”
On average, all four military services, including guard and reserve components, participate in two Green Flag exercises annually. Green Flag exercises provide joint training for approximately 75,000 joint and coalition personnel each year.
“While at Green Flag, we will be conducting two different types of training during the exercise,” said Capt. James Knauss, 74th FS Charlie Flight commander and project officer for the exercise. “First, we will be conducting a large force-on-force fight with the more than 6,000 U.S. Army Soldiers, designed to hone our skills of integrating fixed-wing assets with ground forces. We will also be conducting counter insurgency scenarios geared specifically toward combating threats from small cell terror groups or more organized groups like ISIS or the Taliban.”
Not only does Green Flag provide these A-10 pilots the chance to conduct close air support in preparation for going down range, it also allows the squadrons to train alongside Army and special forces units. Additionally there will be opportunities to interact with the joint tactical control party members they may encounter while deployed this summer, an opportunity Knauss says they don't get that often.
“A lot of the training we receive at Green Flag-West is very similar with the type of stresses of integration we may encounter in combat operations,” said France. “Of course the scenarios and area of operations are not the same but the mission planning cycle, long hours, high sortie generation and increased demand on maintenance is similar to what we encounter in combat.”
“From start to finish, an exercise of this magnitude puts our skills to the test in both fighter and maintenance groups,” said France.