Combat Search and Rescue exercise provides premier training opportunity

Red Flag-Rescue 21-2, the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise, was hosted across Arizona and New Mexico, Aug. 9-20, 2021.

The exercise provided the opportunity for Airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to work alongside joint services and allied partners in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment with advanced, realistic and relevant air-to-surface integration warfighter training.

A Pararescueman from the 48th Rescue Squadron operates on a simulated casualty at Playas Training Center New Mexico during Red-Flag Rescue 21-2, July 30, 2021. This is one of several realistic combat search and rescue training that are developed during Red-Flag Rescue to ensure our forces are always prepared for a full spectrum of joint force operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber)

While this is a recurring training exercise, each iteration offers an opportunity for experts from across the services who execute the CSAR mission to share best practices and feedback from previous training. The intent of Red Flag-Rescue exercise training is to routinely refine the tactics necessary to provide rapid and decisive combat and rescue response.

“The U.S. Air Force executes challenging and diverse missions across the globe and personnel recovery is critical to that success. Airmen often partner with the joint force and our allies to rescue isolated personnel,” said Lt. Col. Robert Allen, 414th Combat Training Squadron Detachment 1 commander. “This recurring training is vital to ensure the DOD, the Air Force and our multi-national partners are ready to execute CSAR and bring our personnel home.”

The 414th Combat Training Squadron is part of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Detachment 1, 414th CTS is located at Davis-Monthan.

The two-week exercise included units from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and allied partners.

U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, a KC-135 Stratotanker and multiple C-130 variants trained alongside Army CH-47 Chinooks, C-12 Hurons, Navy E-2 Hawkeyes, as well as various other aircraft. The opportunity to integrate these forces into one another provides a unique opportunity to build interoperability amongst not only each service, but across the entire DOD.

By focusing on CSAR planning and execution, Red Flag-Rescue provides realistic training in contested, degraded and operationally limited environments to allow DOD and allied forces to provide rapid and decisive combat airpower, allowing the joint force to defend the U.S. and win our nation’s wars.

“The training areas utilized for Red Flag-Rescue provide the landscape necessary to mimic the austere environment where real world CSAR planning and execution take place,” said Tech. Sgt. August O’Niell, 414th Combat Training Squadron Detachment 1 ground operations section chief. “Our goal is to fortify CSAR capabilities during training operations to intuitively execute when necessary.”

Pararescuemen from the 48th Rescue Squadron operate on a simulated injured casualty at Playas Training Center New Mexico during Red-Flag Rescue 21-2, July 30, 2021. This is one of several realistic combat search and rescue training that are developed during Red-Flag Rescue to ensure our forces are always prepared for a full spectrum of joint force operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber)
Pararescuemen from the 48th Rescue Squadron receive a briefing on setting up a perimeter at Playas Training Center New Mexico during Red-Flag Rescue 21-2, July 30, 2021. During this iteration of RFR 21-2, the 48th RQS focused on combat search and rescue planning and execution such as treating simulated casualties and their extraction in order to prepare them for the high-end fight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber)
A Pararescueman from the 48th Rescue Squadron cuts open an overturned Humvee at Playas Training Center New Mexico during Red-Flag Rescue 21-2, July 30, 2021. RFR is the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise that prepares the U.S. military and allied partners for contested, degraded and operationally limited environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber)

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