Talons out! 355th FS Falcons participate in RF-A 22-3

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ricardo Sandoval
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 354th Fighter Wing hosts other units and their aircraft three to four times a year for RED FLAG-Alaska, an air training exercise that takes place in a simulated combat environment.

During RF-A’s third iteration this year, the 355th Fighter Squadron joined the training exercise along with their F-35A Lightning II fighter jets and the pilots assigned to them.

“The role of the 355th in RED FLAG is to be the tactical experts in fifth-generation Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. David Moore, 355th FS F-35A Lightning II pilot. “Our goal is to lead as much as we can with the awareness that the F-35 gives to the pilot.”

RF-A brings a variety of aircraft and personnel to Eielson Air Force Base from around the world and as a result improves interoperability. The training exercise provides 354th FW pilots, and those assigned to different bases and branches, with the opportunity to participate in a simulated combat environment to make sure pilots are always mission-ready.

“Exercises with foreign partners and other services allow us to iron out tactical challenges in a training environment which are not normally addressed during local flying,” said Capt. Robert Deebel, 355th FS F-35A Lightning II pilot. “Overcoming these challenges now are critical to allow for success in future combat operations.”

Despite being the third RED FLAG-Alaska exercise this year, it is the first time the 355th FS has participated this year.

“It’s very exciting to see the complex mission plan that the tactical team arrived at the day prior come to fruition,” said Deebel. “Hours and hours of work by countless people get kicked into motion the moment we takeoff.”

RF-A is set to conclude Aug. 12, but participating in an exercise such as this one is always a reminder that pilots are combat-ready with fifth-generation airpower.

“The exercise better prepares our pilots in that we integrate with other countries and platforms,” added Moore. “There are a lot of jets in the sky, and we learn how to make better decisions in a high-stress environment.”