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Alaska Air Guard Refuels the Forces at Red Flag 23-3

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey,
  • 168th Wing Public Affairs

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska - Red Flag-Alaska 23-3 ramped up Aug. 14, bringing together military forces from the United States, Australia and other partner nations, creating intensive and realistic war-fighting training scenarios. 

Red Flag prepares Air Force, joint and coalition aircrews to fight against peer-level adversaries in any combat environment.

The 168th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, took part in RF-A 23-3 and maximized combat effectiveness and survival awareness while operating in a dynamic and simulated high-threat environment through operational and tactical training.

“Tankers in Red Flag – Alaska 23-3 are sharpening their tactics by practicing in an advanced threat environment, utilizing realistic threats in complex training scenarios,” said Maj. Elliott Sahli, 353d Combat Training Squadron, 23-3 team chief.

During the exercise, forces increased interoperability while honing their combat skills and deepening their understanding of coordinated operations across different domains in the modern battlespace.

“Red Flag sorties are where we sharpen our flying skills tactically, working to increase survivability rates and gain exposure to the risks and threats we could face during initial combat missions in a high-end war,” said Maj Jeffrey Boesche, 168th Wing KC-135 Stratotanker pilot.

Red Flag scenarios are based on striking targets and a large airlift contingent. These missions require air refueling to deliver air superiority and global reach.

Preflight checks occur on every flight mission and ensure the aircraft and crews are ready to conduct aerial refueling missions, providing air power to partners. Preparations for each flight are briefed and set into motion.

“We may employ our aircraft a little differently according to what type of air space we are entering,” said Tech Sgt. Christian Armour, 168th Wing KC-135 Stratotanker aircrew boom operator. “We still have the same mission to refuel, but we prepare to operate under different scenarios that emulate the peer-level adversary.”

Red Flag enables participating units to build partnerships and interoperability under different scenarios.

Sharing tactics, techniques and procedures ensures the United States and its allies receive the best air combat training possible.