Team Fairchild takes on new role supporting Red Flag 19-2
By Airman 1st Class Lawrence Sena, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 14, 2019
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Airmen from all over the nation have convened for Red Flag 19-2, a large-force exercise designed to provide aircrews exposure to a simulated combat environment, March 8-23, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Red Flag provides Airmen the opportunity to experience realistic combat scenarios to provide realistic combat training in a contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment.
“The importance of the tanker task force at Red Flag possesses the same level of importance as any other Air Mobility Command operation,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Taylor Zahm, 93rd Air Refueling Squadron assistant director of operations. “Without the fuel from our tankers, exercise time would be completely limited.”
Fairchild’s advanced team was tasked to coordinate all planning and refueling operations for KC-10 Extenders from Travis Air Force Base, California, and participating fighter aircraft.
“We are supporting Red Flag primarily as operations planning,” Zahm said. “What makes this year unique is we have a KC-135 unit coordinating KC-10s out of Travis AFB to support both international and [American] fighters preparing for deployment situations.”
The advanced team consists of Airmen from a variety of units including the 92nd, 93rd, and 384th ARS, and the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
“It’s a way for all of us to learn about multidimensional planning for a large- scale contingency operation from beginning to end,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joshua McClanathan, 384th ARS boom operator.
Normally, Fairchild aircrews have to focus on the challenges of performing air refueling operations, but in their current role planning and coordinating, they will face a new set of challenges.
“The challenge is understanding different cultures and how fighter units operate,” McClanathan said. “It will be a fun challenge to overcome, and will allow us to learn how to work efficiently with units we have not worked with before.”
Team Fairchild’s participation as the nation’s premier air refueling team in exercises like Red Flag, is one of many ways Fairchild Airmen maintain mission readiness and successfully fuel Global Reach at the Speed of War.