Reserve Citizen Airmen hone combat rescue skills with large-scale training

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Patrick AFB, Fla. load an HH-60G Pave Hawk onto a C-17 as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on May 3, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jonathan Foster)

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Patrick AFB, Fla. load an HH-60G Pave Hawk onto a C-17 as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on May 3, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jonathan Foster)

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Patrick AFB, Fla. load an HH-60G Pave Hawk onto a C-17 as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on May 3, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jonathan Foster)

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Patrick AFB, Fla. load an HH-60G Pave Hawk onto a C-17 as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on May 3, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jonathan Foster)

Rescue personnel transload onto an HC-130J Combat King II during a mission as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on May 8, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

A pararescueman proves medical care to a survivor while flying on an HC-130J Combat King II during a medical transport mission as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 8, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

An HC-130P/N King pilot, assigned to the 39th Rescue Squadron, controls the aircraft during low-level training as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 9, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

An HC-130P/N King pilot, assigned to the 39th Rescue Squadron, flies the aircraft during low-level training as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 9, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

An HC-130P/N King loadmaster, assigned to the 39th Rescue Squadron, looks out of the window during low-level training as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on May 9, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

A U.S. Air Force pararescueman yells to pass on vital information to MV-22 Osprey aircrew during a combat rescue scenario as part of Red Flag-Rescue 18-2 near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on May 12, 2018. Red Flag-Rescue gives joint service personnel an opportunity to build fundamental combat search and rescue skills to fight in and out of contested environments. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --

Airmen from 920th Rescue Wing honed their rescue skills at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the first iteration of Red Flag Rescue in May.

Red Flag-Rescue, replacing Angel Thunder, is a new joint-force training involving a large-scale search and rescue set-up aimed at providing service members realistic combat training in contested, degraded and operationally limited environments.

The 920th Rescue Wing sent several squadrons and multiple aircraft to participate in Red Flag Rescue. The 39th Rescue Squadron flew two HC-130P/N King aircraft and served as airborne command and control.

 

Red Flag Rescue provided training for Airmen without combat experience and gave them an opportunity to fly in a near combat environment.

 

“This was a truly educational experience for our younger aircrew; in addition, our experienced aircrew increased their proficiency working with multiple weapon systems in a more challenging setting in this large-scale (training),” said Col. Michael LoForti, 920th Operations Group commander.

 

According to LoForti, Red Flag was originally designed in the 70’s from experiences in Vietnam. Aircrew were lost exponentially higher on the first 10 missions in combat.

 

“Red Flag gets our aircrew experience through those first 10 missions in a safer and more controlled environment before actually seeing combat for the first time,” LoForti said.

 

The mountainous and dry terrain surrounding the rescue preparation afforded aircrew valuable high altitude and low visibility training.

“Doing a large-scale exercise you are part of a much larger flying package including additional aircraft like A-10s, Ospreys, you name it,” LoForti added. “We were able to focus on the personnel recovery mission working with the additional players absent from our day-to-day training.”

 

The 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs contributed to this story.