DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Six Colombian Air Force Kfir fighter jets on their way to Red Flag 18-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, stopped at Davis-Monthan AFB from July 5-16, to train with A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Red Flag is the U.S. Air Force's premier air-to-air combat training exercise that is hosted at the Nevada Test and Training Range. Red Flag 18-3 will provide the Colombian Air Force the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safe training environment with the U.S. Air Force.
“This week is very important here at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base because our pilots and aircrew can train alongside members of the United States Air Force, which allows a better training environment for all,” said Colombian Air Force Brig. Gen. Pablo Garcia, Aerial Combat Command 1 commander.
The Colombian Air Force sent 130 personnel to support the six Colombian Kfirs fighter jets and one Colombian Air Force 767 Multi-Mission Tanker Transport Jupiter. While at Davis-Monthan AFB, the Kfirs flew air-to air combat training missions with A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 354th Fighter Squadron “the Bulldogs” and F-16 Fighting Falcons from Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing.
“It was amazing training, an amazing warm up before Red Flag,” said Colombian Air Force Maj. Freddy Figueroa 111th Fighter Squadron commander. “We are very proud, it was a very high honor to fly with the bulldogs, with the vipers.”
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Julian Pachecho, 162nd Fighter Wing alert commander, has been the Colombian country manager for the 162nd Wing for the last eight years, He been working directly with them in preparation for Red Flag 18-3.
“I actually helped them train for their first trip to Red Flag in 2012. Over the last nine months I’ve made another three trips down to Colombia,” Pachecho said. “I think the Colombians are a hard working force and I look forward to seeing their success in Red Flag.”
During Colombian Air Force’s time at Davis-Monthan AFB, they visited 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), met with 12th AF (AFSOUTH) Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, as well as, partner nation liaison officers from Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
“I was lucky enough to fly with the squadron when I visited Palanquero (Colombia) back in March,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander. “When I flew with them they were ready for Red Flag and this visit gets them even more ready and more confident, they are very ready and very prepared.”
Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) is the air and space component to U.S. Southern Command, and conducts security cooperation and provides air, space and cyberspace capabilities throughout the 31 nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.