USAF concludes first Red Flag-Rescue personnel recovery exercise

30 May 2018 (Last Updated May 30th, 2018 11:19)

The US Air Force (USAF) has concluded the first ever Red Flag-Rescue exercise carried out at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB).

USAF concludes first Red Flag-Rescue personnel recovery exercise
Rescue personnel transload onto an HC-130J Combat King II during Red Flag-Rescue exercise. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Trevor T McBride

The US Air Force (USAF) has concluded the first ever Red Flag-Rescue exercise carried out at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB).

Replacing Angel Thunder exercise, Red Flag-Rescue is a new joint-force exercise that involved the participation of Personnel Recovery and Combat Air Force assets from across the US.

The exercise was designed to provide personnel with realistic combat rescue training in a challenging, degraded and operationally limited environment.

It is currently the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) only personnel recovery exercise accredited by the Joint National Training Capability. It is a DoD initiative that ensures combat forces have attained necessary experience in operating jointly before being deployed to theatre.

“Red Flag-Rescue adopts this heritage as a subset of Red Flag-Nellis by providing joint forces their first ten CSAR missions in a large force exercise.”

Red Flag-Rescue is focused on combat search and rescue (CSAR) planning, which is the USAF’s planning methodology for providing personnel recovery missions.

The exercise is the logical progression from a Red Flag-Nellis AFB exercise that starts after the initial days of a conflict where it becomes possible for forces to carry out CSAR operations with a focus on personnel recovery tasks.

USAF Detachment 1 414th Combat Training Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Christopher Cunningham said: “Red Flag-Nellis was originally created to give fighter pilots their first ten combat missions in a large force exercise before deployment to contingency operations.

“Red Flag-Rescue adopts this heritage as a subset of Red Flag-Nellis by providing joint forces their first ten CSAR missions in a large force exercise.

“Contested CSAR operations can only be conducted by a full complement of integrated forces capable of fighting into and out of the survivor’s location.”

The two-week Red Flag-Rescue exercise has seen the participation of more than 700 personnel from 20 units of the USAF, the US Army, the US Marine Corps and the US Navy.