Exercises Red Flag 19-1 and 19-2 Report


Just north of the famous Las Vegas strip sits Nellis Air Force Base, ‘Home of the Warfighter’. Several training exercises are held here each year, but by far the largest and most well known is Red Flag.

Red Flag was originally developed in 1975 by Lt. Col. Richard ‘Moody’ Sutter as a reaction to our deteriorating air to air kill ratios. With the lessons learned in Vietnam, the idea was that if a pilot could survive their first 10 combat missions, their survivability increased dramatically.

With Red Flag 19-1 and 19-2 having concluded earlier this Spring, all focus now goes to the final Red Flag of the 2019 fiscal year, 19-3. In the previous two Flags, all branches of the United States Armed Forces executed missions with: the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Columbia, the Republic of Singapore, and the Royal Netherlands.

The key focus on most Red Flags is the integration of our allied partners to maximize our effectiveness in all facets of aerial warfare. Each nation participating is able to adapt to each other’s tactics, and to formulate the most effective way to eliminate threats using all assets involved as a singular force. Many lessons and tactics are learned and shared between our coalition partners, and any challenges are addressed and overcome so that we maintain a constant state of readiness and that we maintain our edge for any future conflicts that may arise in the future.

In the final Red Flag of the year, set to begin this Summer, the focus will be more on refining our own skill sets as generally this Flag is United States participants only. Stay tuned for a full report from the Nevada desert as RF 19-3 is only a month away.

Steve Lewis

Steve is a Southern California based photographer living in the Los Angeles area.

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