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Gunfighters participate in Green Flag Exercise
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jordan Thomas, 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, prepares to move a pallet using an all terrain forklift Aug. 2, 2012, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The pallets were loaded with equipment that will be needed for the Green Flag East exercise at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward/Released)
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Gunfighters participate in Green Flag Exercise

Posted 8/9/2012   Updated 8/8/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/9/2012 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Members of the 389th Fighter Squadron and the 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron will team up with servicemembers from around the United States during Green Flag East at Barksdale AFB, La., Aug. 9 through 23.

GFE is a joint exercise that gives both Airmen and Soldiers a chance to integrate their forces and simulate combat situations in a deployed environment. This is important to Airmen from Mountain Home as it's one of their few opportunities to build camaraderie with the Army unit they will most likely deploy alongside in the future, and also allows gunfighters a chance to showcase their talents in close-air support training.

"This exercise will improve the integration of Air Force assets with Army ground operations in the overseas contingency operations," said Maj. Paul Siegler, 389th FS assistant director of operations and GFE operations project officer.

The preparations and planning for the exercise are extensive and officially began in April.

"Pre-planning involves getting the aircrew trained and qualified on close-air support missions, identifying equipment and spare aircraft parts that will be needed and are not provided by the host base, arranging transportation of all cargo to the deployed location, identifying career fields that will be needed and selecting Airmen with the right experience and knowledge to participate in the exercise," said 1st Lt. Steven Daughon, 389th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge.

Even though preparations for this particular exercise started in April, Airmen are expected to be ready to perform the mission year-round at a moment's notice.

"Aircrew need to qualify on close-air support related tactics and procedures and the maintainers need to qualify on tasks such as weapons loading that are important to this type of mission," said Draughon. "This exercise provides invaluable training to the aircrew on simulated air support missions like those that would be encountered in combat zones."

GFE is one of several exercises used to prepare military members for combat operations and deployments and has been going on for years.

"This exercise will increase the proficiency and lethality of the fighter squadrons here at MHAFB," Siegler commented. "The increased proficiency and lethality will also translate to saving lives on the ground in combat zones because the aircrew will react quicker and with greater precision."

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