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Military

Wing units take on Red Flag

by Senior Airman Nestor Cruz
18th Wing Public Affairs

6/9/2008 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFPN) -- Aircrews from the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron departed Kadena Air Base, Japan, June 3 on their way to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to participate in the second Red Flag exercise this year.

The air controllers joined other Kadena units including the 909th Air Refueling Squadron and the 44th Fighter Squadron, as well as squadrons from Yokota Air Base, Japan, and Tinker AFB Okla.

Aircrews from the Japan Air Self Defense Force in Naha are also participating in the biannual exercise.

"We're going to have a great deal of integration with JASDF and some of our crews flying on their jets," said Maj. Troy Carr, 961st AACS assistant director of operations. "We will effectively cross flow our crews with theirs, flying on their jets and seeing how they do business."

Red Flag is all about integration with military forces from other countries, Major Carr said. Also participating in the exercise are air forces from Finland and Thailand.

"It's great getting the chance to work with E-3 units from other countries," the major said.

During the last Red Flag exercise, 961st AACS controllers worked with aircrews from Waddington, England.

"It was a great experience working with them and establishing those friendships," Major Carr said. "If we have to go to war, we can easily integrate with the Royal Air Force and we're hoping to have that same camaraderie with the JASDF."

Aircrews will begin the exercise with a familiarization flight to acquaint themselves with the Alaskan airspace.

This is the second Red Flag exercise in Alaska this year for the 961st AACS and the third Alaska-based exercise, including the recently concluded Northern Edge. The last time they participated in Red Flag prior to 2008 was two years ago in Nellis AFB, Nev.

During the two years since the E-3 squadron last participated in a Red Flag exercise, the 961st AACS was involved in other exercises such as Cope Tiger in Thailand, said Maj. Chad Dutton, 961st AACS ADO.

"Our role in these exercises is to provide premier command and control for all air and surface players," Major Dutton said.



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