DM hosts Red Flag-Rescue 22-2

Red Flag-Rescue is a joint exercise that involves other service branches as well as partner nations and is the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise held twice a year, hosted exclusively by Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and is roughly two weeks long.

Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 involved several units from the 355th Wing, from pararescuemen to pilots, as well as members from the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force Regiment and other rescue units from Nellis AFB, Nev., all converging at Playas Training Center, N.M., Aug. 8-18, 2022.

Members of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force Regiment exit an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron, at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. Red Flag-Rescue is the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise, involving various wings and partner nations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class William Turnbull)

Whether it is a mass casualty or a downed pilot rescue, the participants of RF-R utilize their skills learned from their respective training pipeline and sharpen them through repetition during RF-R so that if the need arises to utilize CSAR there is no room for doubt.

“RF-R is the commander of Air Combat Command directed, joint, nationally accredited personnel recovery exercise conducted at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base,” said Lt. Col. Jeffery Budis, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander. “We started doing RF-R about 15-20 years ago, it began right here at DM. The rescue forces at large determined that they needed deeper levels of tactical training then some of the larger force exercises of the world were able to provide.”

The exercise provides advanced, realistic and relevant air-to-surface integration warfighter training in a robust contested, degraded and operationally limited environment.

“We provide the players with a variety of challenges in their scenarios,” said Capt. Warren Metcalf, RF-R 22-2 air cell team chief. “It can be something as simple as a pre-planned exercise like a downed pilot that players will have to go out and get them, but we also have scenarios where they are planning to cover a strike package but we are going to surprise them with a mass casualty event and now they have to figure out how to get to those casualties.”

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 drastically improve mission success rates.

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 HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron, participates in Exercise Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. RF-R is the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise, involving various wings and partner nations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class William Turnbull)
An Airman assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, scans for opposing players during Exercise Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. RF-R is the world’s premier combat search and rescue exercise that prepares Airmen and partners for the high-end fight in highly contested, degraded environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paige Weldon)
Four GTR-18A rockets are placed on launch rails during Exercise Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. RF-R is an Air Combat Command-sponsored, Joint National Training Center-certified, two-week, live-fly, combat search and rescue (CSAR) exercise designed and executed by Detachment 1, 414th Combat Training Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paige Weldon)
Airmen assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, prepare to deploy a GTR-18A rocket against opposing players during Exercise Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. Airmen must be ready to adapt, anticipate and react to changes in the operating environment by providing total force combat-ready Airmen to handle the known while also educating them to recognize and react to the unknown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paige Weldon)
An Airman assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, assembles a launch rail for GTR-18A rockets during Exercise Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. RF-R is the world’s premier combat search and rescue (CSAR) exercise that prepares Airmen and partners for the high-end fight in highly contested, degraded environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paige Weldon)
An Airman assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, prepares a GTR-18A rocket during Exercise Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. Airmen must be ready to adapt, anticipate and react to changes in the operating environment by providing total force combat-ready Airmen to handle the known while also educating them to recognize and react to the unknown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paige Weldon)
An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron retrieves members of the United Kingdoms Royal Air Force Regiment during Exercise Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is the only installation that hosts RF-R. RF-R is hosted twice a year and includes various American units as well as various partner forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class William Turnbull)
An HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron, flies over an exercise incident site at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, Aug. 11, 2022. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is the only installation that hosts RF-R. RF-R is hosted twice a year and includes various American units as well as various partner forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class William Turnbull)

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