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Silver Flag
Airmen with the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron board a bus for transportation to the airport for an early flight Feb. 5, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Airmen flew to Kadena Air Base to participate in a two week Silver Flag traning exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault)
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Silver Flag gives experience to junior Airmen

Posted 2/23/2011   Updated 2/23/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/23/2011 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Airmen with the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron participated in Silver Flag, a two week exercise hosted at Kadena air base Okinawa, Japan, before returning to Eielson on Feb. 18.

The 63-man team used the exercise to fulfill training obligations on a variety of tasks that aren't easily taught at home station. The successful completion of Silver Flag means that training currencies and certifications are now complete within the squadron.

The goals of Silver Flag are a step above periodic training, which is a basic means of staying current with procedures and practices, making it critical in ensuring the work force is as capable of carrying out their duties.

The Airmen received classroom instruction where they learn about the contingency equipment they would most likely see downrange for the first part of the training. In the next stage, the Airmen began to get into the grit of their specialties during the field segment that required them to establish a base from an austere location.

According to Airman 1st Class Michael Downs, who is a squadron geobase specialist, this training is a good opportunity to get hands on refresher training on specific airfield procedures not encountered every day.

"Going to this exercise I get to do what my job says I'm supposed to do. This is great because I can put into practice what I know on paper," said Airman 1st Class Stacy Ducaussin, 354th CES emergency support manager.

During the field exercise they broke into groups to perform different tasks. Some of the areas they practice include surveying and runway reconstruction, power production and distribution, matting, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Adding to the difficulty, they performed these tasks while wearing the required mission oriented protective posture gear.

"This is why there is a need for Silver Flag. This way there isn't a gap in training or knowledge when they go downrange," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Cherry, 354th CES prime beef manager.

For participating Airmen, Silver Flag is similar to an operational readiness exercise or inspection. Last year, a 72-man group completed the civil engineering portion of the ORI. This year's exercise was evaluated by inspectors at Kadena, the inspectors were also prepared to provide additional instruction and training for any Airmen who required additional help.

"Even though these are war games it's still a training environment," said Sergeant Cherry. "The majority of the group includes Airmen right out of technical school, so they lack experience, but it's a perfect opportunity for them to actually learn more and enhance themselves when it comes to the contingency equipment."

After their return the Airmen do not put training to the side. The Airmen maintain the information learned from Silver Flag by applying their new experiences with their career development courses, qualification test procedure and career based training to be ready at a moment's notice.

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