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187th Fighter Wing participate in Green Flag East

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Baldwin
  • 187th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
More than 145 Airmen and eight F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 187th Fighter Wing, Dannelly Field Air National Guard Base, Ala., traveled to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to participate in Green Flag East, Jan.12-28.

Green Flag is a simulated combat operation held between Barksdale Air Force Base and Fort Polk, La., to employ close air support and hone communication between air and ground forces.

"Green Flag gives us the opportunity to work directly with the Army which we don't get a lot of practice with at home," said Lt. Col. Clarence Borowski, 187th Operations Group commander. "We get to do some very involved scenarios with both large and small forces and do more than we do at home."

The importance of joint training was not lost on members of the 187th FW.

"The Army is our customer down range, so it is important that we work with these guys and make sure we understand the same terminology, understand their tactics and they understand our tactics," said Borowski. "We also get the opportunity to understand their limitations and they understand our limitations. This is how we become more effective."

Lt. Col. Casey Cooley, 187th Maintenance Group deputy commander, said exercises like GFE give Airmen the opportunity to train how they fight.

"The last place you want pilots and maintainers to see a scenario for the first time is down range," Cooley said. "Here, they are able to experience simulated scenarios to prepare them for what they may encounter during their tour. This exercise does a really good job preparing our guys."

Though the 187th FW has many full-time Airmen, GFE provides an opportunity for traditional guardsmen to get hands-on training.

"The training that we get out of this exercise we can't get at home," said Chief Master Sgt. Johnny Tadlock, 187 MXG Quality Assurance Superintendent. "The young people we bring out here get a lot of extra training, like loading and downloading live ammunition; that gives them the real-world feeling of being on a deployment."

Not only does this exercise provide training for the unit, it also provides an opportunity to enhance teamwork and mission effectiveness.

"You have to work together without a doubt," said Tadlock. "This exercise brings all shops together. It helps for everybody to chip in."

Though the 187th FW has many full time Airmen, GFE provides an opportunity for traditional guardsmen to get hands-on training.

"That's the way we fight, almost never will there be a time that the Air Force will engage independently; it will almost always be with a joint partner, total force partner or international partner."

For Airman 1st Class Paul Froom, 187th Fuel Systems, this exercise provided a learning experience on how to respond to jets in a time-crunch situation.

"We actually had to send them off to a mission in a timely fashion and ensured they got where they needed to be on time."

Borowski's goal for this exercise was to get new pilots more comfortable with the new technology on the jet, and provide Airmen with more experience and practice before going down range.

"Everything is a learning curve," Borowski said. "When you go out and do something for the first time you are going to be slower, you're not going to be as accurate as you would be if you have done it a dozen times, so the more you practice the better you get."

Captain Scott Eshelman stated that however, we did not get an official score, training at GFE for our deployment preparation was very successful.