Red Flag-Rescue 21-2 exercise in Playas

U.S. military and allied forces participated in a training event during Red Flag-Rescue 21-2 at Playas Training Center, N.M., May 13, 2021.

Red Flag-Rescue is the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise that prepares U.S. armed forces and its partners for the high-end fight in highly contested and degraded environments.

A French recovery team board a French Eurcopter EC725 during Red Flag-Rescue 21-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, May 13, 2021. Red Flag-Rescue provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. and allied forces to significantly improve interoperability and readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman William Turnbull)

“The whole purpose of the exercise is to expand our capabilities down range and working with NATO forces gets our people used to working with other countries in the field,” said Shawn Silvia, 414th Combat Training Squadron, Detachment 1, ground operations manager.

Red Flag-Rescue also serves as a unique opportunity for U.S. forces to work alongside partner forces in order to significantly improve interoperability with our allies. This ensures that Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Guardians are equipped with the skillset necessary to assist NATO forces.

“The players we have for this exercise include a lot of U.S., French, Italian, Colombian and Singaporean forces, “ said Gregory Sisco, 414th CTS, DET 1, opposing forces manager. “We have French helicopters and their recovery team, Singaporean AH-64 Apache helicopters, HC-130’s from the U.S. and France, as well as Embraer A-29 Super Tucano’s from Colombia and many electronic jamming aircraft from several countries.”

A French Eurocopter EC725 flys above a combat zone during Red Flag-Rescue 21-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, May 13, 2021. Red Flag-Rescue serves as the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman William Turnbull)

Whether the U.S. military is providing humanitarian aid during a natural disaster, or proving combat power in a conflict with a near-peer adversary, learning how to execute CSAR missions in a joint-service environment will ensure mission success.

“The importance of inviting partner forces is to reinforce our relationships and to make sure that when we work with other nations down range we know what to expect from each other,” Silvia said.

The U.S. Air Force continues building its interoperability with other nations by participating in and facilitating exercise like these in order to improve and maintain our readiness to deter, and if necessary, defeat near-peer adversaries that may arise.

An Airman, assigned to an opposing forces team, receives a brief at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, May 13, 2021. Red Flag-Rescue serves as the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman William Turnbull)

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