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December 13, 2017
 

D-M Airmen participate in exercise Cactus Flag

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Airman 1st Class Frankie D. Moore
Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

A U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II takes off during the annual Cactus Flag exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 6, 2017. Cactus Flag is designed to ensure D-M is ready to provide airattack power in support of combatant commanders anywhere in the world.

Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., participated in the annual Cactus Flag exercise, which began operations Dec. 4, 2017.

Each year, Cactus Flag is tailored to what the 355th Fighter Wing commander believes would be most beneficial to D-M Airmen. This year, the week-long exercise focused on base-wide deployment readiness.

“Our day-to-day operations are to maintain readiness, which gives us the opportunity to flex the muscle of actually mobilizing aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Aaron Withrow, 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron self-assessment program manager. “This exercise really helped the maintainers get out of their everyday routine and experience the unknowns of a deployed environment.”

Airman 1st Class Manuel Bayron, 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, inspects the undercarriage of an A-10C Thunderbolt II for irregularities prior to takeoff during the annual Cactus Flag exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 6, 2017.

Specialized training was designed for each unit around base, focusing on situations that might take place during a deployment.

“The 355th Civil Engineer Squadron did some simulated chemical attacks and security forces participated in unmanned aerial vehicle responses,” said Withrow. “Although this exercise was small in scale, we hit on major points so we are prepared when subsequent exercises become much larger and much more realistic.”

This exercise presented D-M Airmen with different scenarios that tested their readiness, ensuring they are prepared to get their job done efficiently when deployed.

“I’m excited that our Airmen got to participate in an exercise such as this,” said Withrow. “This is truly a readiness revival.”
 

Capt. Sky Lesh, 354th Fighter Squadron pilot, performs an operations check on an A-10C Thunderbolt II prior to takeoff during the annual Cactus Flag exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 6, 2017.

 

Senior Airman Jerry Lyons, 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, fuels an A-10C Thunderbolt II during the annual Cactus Flag exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 6, 2017.

 

Two U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt IIs fly in formation during the annual Cactus Flag exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 6, 2017.




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