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RED FLAG-Alaska 21-1 brings joint services together for training

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, takes off during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 20-3 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2020. RF-A gives aviators an opportunity to hone skills required in combat by providing training scenarios designed to replicate near-peer adversary tactics, techniques and procedures in a controlled environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron, takes off during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 20-3 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Aug. 3, 2020. RF-A gives aviators an opportunity to hone skills required in combat by providing training scenarios designed to replicate near-peer adversary tactics, techniques and procedures in a controlled environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

RED FLAG-Alaska 21-1, a Pacific Air Forces-directed field training exercise simulating realistic air combat conditions, is scheduled to begin Oct. 8 and continue through Oct. 23, 2020.

This is the second RED FLAG-Alaska exercise of the year and the first iteration to include participants from sister services since the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing joint partners back to RF-A allows planners to build a more robust, well-rounded exercise.

"RF-A is a premier training venue for joint units to bolster interoperability while simultaneously honing combat skills with realistic threat scenarios," said U.S. Air Force Col. Jared Hutchinson, RF-A 21-1 Deployed Forces commander. "It provides the joint force an opportunity to truly exercise their capabilities through shared tactics, techniques, and procedures under a simulated war-time environment."

During this iteration of the exercise around 800 service members are expected to fly, maintain and support more than 40 aircraft from 10 units. Most aircraft will be based at, and fly from, Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Ensuring the highest-quality training for both air and ground components remains a top priority as is securing the safety and health of service members in the midst of a health pandemic.

“Within the RED FLAG campus we have a lot of mitigation procedures and techniques in place,” said Capt. Christopher Ellsworth, the RF-A 21-1 team chief. “We’re using distributed technological systems to minimize the groups that we’re creating but still get the mission planning, debriefing and the execution taken care of the best way that we can.”