Personnel, including instructors and B course students, from the 358th Fighter Squadron are scheduled to deploy in support of Green Flag-West Jan. 11 through Feb. 5.
Green Flag-West is an air and land integration combat training exercise held at Nellis AFB, Nev. It is a close air support and Joint exercise administered by the U.S. Air Force Air Warfare Center, and Nellis, through the 549th Combat Training Squadron.
“The mission of the Green Flag-West exercise is to train joint and coalition personnel in the integration and employment of air, space, and cyber power in conjunction with ground force operations,” said Capt. Aaron Cavasos, 358th FS chief weapons and tactics officer.
Out of the 179 D-M personnel playing in the exercise, nine of them will be student pilots. The students will use scenarios run in the exercise to complete various training requirements.
“They will be completing the final 3 to 5 rides of their close air support phase and some will even complete initial qualification course requirements while at Nellis,” Cavasos said.
The squadron will take 15 A-10C aircraft with them.
“Our primary missions will be to act as forward air controller, provide CAS, and non-traditional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance to an Armored Calvary Brigade,” Cavasos said.
This is the first time students have ever participated in GFW with the squadron.
“We are using this deployment as a benchmark for how feasible it would be to complete our CAS phase at a Flag Level event on a recurring basis,” Cavasos said.
This a joint exercise in conjunction with the U.S. Army Combat Training Center at Ft. Irwin, Calif.
“This exercise emphasizes integration and execution at the Brigade Combat Team level during live-fire range rotations to accomplish joint training objectives in support of National Defense Doctrine,” Cavasos said.
At least six months before participants arrive, exercise coordinators from the 549th CTS, along with planners from the U.S. Army, begin designing the exercise, determining how many units will participate.
The components that make up a Green Flag exercise are typically two multi-role fighter or bomber squadrons, an unmanned aircraft, an electronic warfare aircraft and an aerial refueling aircraft.
“With our IQ course on a six-month cycle it is very important for our squadron’s morale, performance and knowledge to get off base and perform in different environments and with different assets,” Cavasos said. “Participation in this exercise also means that IQ students will graduate and arrive at their units having already been on temporary duty, and will have dropped as many variations of weapons as pilots who have previously deployed to combat.”
On average, all four branches of the military participate in the Green Flag exercises annually.
Green Flag-West was established in 1981, when it was known as Air Warrior.