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Red Flag-Rescue emphasizes high-end readiness

a photo of a Naval unit and helicopter sitting on a dirt training area

A U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk picks up simulated isolated personnel in Southern Arizona as part of Red Flag-Rescue 19-2 on Aug. 21, 2019. The MH-60S Seahawk pilots were able to experience live fire exercises, as well as executing refueling drills and simulated combat search and rescue drops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens)


Department of Defense assets around the United States began conducting Red Flag-Rescue at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Aug. 7, 2020.

Red Flag-Rescue is the DOD’s premier combat search and rescue exercise. As a joint-force experience, it provides combat search and rescue training in contested, degraded and operationally limited environments.

“Red Flag-Rescue provides Airmen the opportunity to participate in a realistic combat training exercise that will prepare them to conduct rescues in a variety of environments,” said Lt. Col. Robert Allen, 414th Combat Training Squadron Detachment 1 commander.

Red Flag-Rescue will allow aircrew and operators from across the United States the opportunity to hone their high-end readiness. The exercise is focused on CSAR planning, the Air Force’s preferred planning methodology for providing personnel recovery. It also allows for Air Force assets to operate after the initial days of a conflict where it becomes possible for forces to conduct CSAR operations.

All of the exercise participants will adhere to COVID mitigation regulations put in place by the DoD, state of Arizona and City of Tucson, when traveling to and during Red Flag-Rescue.

“When we exercise, our Airmen train to integrate with our service partners to assure our country that the United States Air Force is prepared to meet any threat,” Allen said. “Real-world rescues will continue throughout this pandemic and it is important to keep our forces ready.”

Units from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy will collaborate for the two-week exercise.