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RED FLAG-Alaska 18-3 concludes

RED FLAG-Alaska provides unparalleled training for participating aircrew, maintainers and support personnel.

Two U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles are framed between trees as they return from a sortie Aug. 16, 2018, during RED FLAG-Alaska at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The two F-15s are from the 44th Fighter Squadron out of Kadena Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

RED FLAG-Alaska provides unparalleled training for participating aircrew, maintainers and support personnel.

A plume of vapor passes under a 457th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon, Aug. 15, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The vapor formed while Airmen filled the aircraft’s oxygen tanks with liquid oxygen; oxygen liquifies at temperatures below negative 297 degrees fahrenheit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

RED FLAG-Alaska provides unparalleled training for participating aircrew, maintainers and support personnel.

A Special Operations Forces team member makes contact with a C-130 during a mission for RED FLAG-Alaska 18-3 on August 17, 2018, in the Yukon Training Area, Alaska. During the mission, the team disabled a simulated enemy surface to air missile. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaac Johnson)

RED FLAG-Alaska provides unparalleled training for participating aircrew, maintainers and support personnel.

A U.S. Air Force C-130 descends before landing on a dirt strip during RED FLAG-Alaska 18-3 in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, Aug. 17, 2018. The C-130 picked up members of the 17th Special Tactics Squadron and 3rd Special Forces Group as part of a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaac Johnson)

RED FLAG-Alaska provides unparalleled training for participating aircrew, maintainers and support personnel.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 35th Fighter Wing (FW), receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, Aug. 21, 2018, during RED FLAG-Alaska 18-3 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 35th FWs mission is to provide worldwide deployable forces, protect U.S. interests in the Pacific and defend Japan with sustained forward presence and focused mission support. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

Royal Canadian Air Force trains with U.S. Forces

A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-188 Hornet pilot salutes as he taxis to the runway at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Aug. 22, 2018. The RCAF is one of three international partners currently participating in the base's third iteration of RED FLAG-Alaska this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kahdija Slaughter)

A 457th Fighter Squadron pilot taxis toward the runway Aug. 10, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 457th FS, from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, is one of the visiting units for RED FLAG-Alaska 18-3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Aaron Guerrisky)

A 457th Fighter Squadron pilot taxis toward the runway Aug. 10, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 457th FS, from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, is one of the visiting units for RED FLAG-Alaska 18-3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Aaron Guerrisky)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

Aug. 24, 2018, marks the ending of another iteration of RED FLAG-Alaska.

During RF-A 18-3, U.S. and partner nation forces from around the globe, including the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force, came together to conduct training in the air and on the ground to help improve interoperability between the U.S. and its allies; and to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures.

Throughout the exercise, participating units had the opportunity to train with various joint and coalition partners in a realistic combat environment throughout the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which is one of the largest instrumented air, ground and electronic combat training range in the world.

“RF-A is unique for a couple different reasons; the facilities we have [and] the [JPARC] where we conduct flying and ground operations,” said Maj. Thomas Stengl, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron assistant director of operations. “Normally, training venues have limitations, but here there are very few. Super-sonic flight is allowed and participants are able to execute their techniques tactics and procedures almost to the extent they would in war time.”

While RF-A and the JPARC provide exceptional training to pilots, they aren't the only ones to benefit from the opportunities the exercise creates.

“[RF-A 18-3] provided a chance for more than 100 aircraft and 1,500 personnel to learn to train in a joint, international and increasingly multi-domain environment,” said Lt. Col. John Anderson, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron commander. “They learned to talk the same talk and fight the same fight to solve complex issues.”

One of the unique parts of RF-A is the participation of ground and special operations forces which provides necessary training for combat operations.

“Twenty-first century warfare is getting progressively more complex, so to be able to fully employ in an air combat or special operations scenario participants need to be able to integrate with each other,” said Stengl.

Finally, 18-3 was the first ever exercise to include the RQ-4 Global Hawk, which allows aircrew to see the impact they make during sorties and provides a unique perspective they wouldn’t normally see.

“This is the first RF-A in which the RQ-4 has participated,” said Stengl. “It brings longevity and can stay for an extended period of time to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance which provides a lot of assistance with targeting to aircrew.”