EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- All components from the U.S. Air Force, to include active-duty service members, Air National Guard and Reserve, must work together to achieve overall air superiority.
The 457th Fighter Squadron is a U.S. Air Force Reserve Command unit, assigned to the 301st Operations Group, stationed at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas.
“I think every other unit that I am aware of that is here is active-duty,” said Lt. Col. Brett Comer, 457th Fighter Squadron director of operations. “It is nice we have the ARC (Air Reserve Command) participating in an active-duty exercise like this because that’s how we do deploy and work together during real-world operations.”
The unit will receive more realistic combat training while here for RED FLAG- Alaska (RF-A) 18-3.
“This is kind of like a graduation exercise for us actually,” said Comer. “At home we don't have the number of assets that are available here. If you look out at the ramp you could see there is a variety of aircraft available and that is truly how the Air Force executes real world operations.”
Pilots and aircrew members receive exclusive training while here for RF-A, but maintainers also partake in the exercise and the challenges it has to offer.
“The main challenge we face is not having all the comforts of home when it relates to our unit facilities,” said Senior Master Sgt. Darryl Roland, 301st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent. “You only have what you bring with you, and sometimes situations occur where you don't have the proper tool for the job. Luckily, we have several other F-16 units here, and we have all worked together when we run in to a shortfall.”
RF-A re-enforces the United States Air Force’s continued commitment to readiness in the Pacific theater.
“This is a really unique opportunity for our Airmen to receive high-end training to help improve our reserve readiness that the Air Force relies on,” said Comer.