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RED FLAG-Alaska 14-3 Kicks Off
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 14th Fighter Squadron, Misawa Air Base, Japan, launches during RED FLAG-Alaska 14-3 Aug. 8, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The F-16 is a compact, highly maneuverable fighter aircraft, vastly proven in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford Jr./Released)
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Wild Weasels deploy airpower to RF-A 14-3

Posted 8/19/2014   Updated 8/21/2014 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/19/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- As RED FLAG-Alaska 14-3 kicks into high gear, Eielson has seen many different units from around the world.

The Wild Weasels from the 14th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Wing assigned to Misawa Air Base, Japan made their first RF-A appearance of the year, bringing tactical air combat skills to assist participating units.

Their mission during RF-A 14-3 is similar to what they do in Japan, but on a much greater scale: to consistently aid friendly aircraft from enemies and protect their allies from air-to-air and surface-to-air threats.

"The biggest thing we're learning here is integration between different weapons systems and different services such as the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, which is something we don't get at home station," said Capt. Patrick Nolan, 14th FS pilot. "The training we're receiving here is on such a large scale, you can't get anywhere else."

Members of the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit are learning to fly high while keeping their jets flying even higher.

"For us younger guys, RED FLAG is giving us experience and what to expect for a real-world situation," said Airman 1st Class Richard Rygiel, 35th AMU crew chief. "After only being on the flight line for three months, it's allowed me to become an independent crew chief and not depend on my NCOs so much, but learn to fix issues and think for myself."

As with every training or real-world experience, there are challenges to overcome and after RF-A 14-3 wraps up, the Wild Weasels will continue to learn from their experiences here at Eielson.

"We've learned some awesome lessons already thanks to the scenarios that all the hard-working people provided here at RED FLAG-Alaska like the 353rd Combat Training Squadron and the 18th Aggressor Squadron," said Nolan. "After we leave, I know we're going to take the lessons we learned from this experience to find our weaknesses and iron out the problems so that we can come back stronger next year."

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