ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Since October 2020, the 554th RED HORSE Squadron has conducted eight different Silver Flag exercises at Northwest Field while also providing humanitarian and contingency support throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Silver Flag is a contingency training function dedicated to the continuing and evolving education of more than 13 different Air Force Specialty Codes from civil engineers, force support personnel and ground transportation specialists.
“We also work hand-in-hand with our joint partners within the Department of Defense as well as offering limited partner nation training,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Robert Fitte, superintendent assigned to the 554th RED HORSE squadron. “With our partner nations and joint forces, Silver Flag prefers to work with their engineer forces as most of the lingo is easily conveyed regardless of the languages or services.”
Currently, there are three USAF Silver Flag sites worldwide, but each site brings its own variations to the training given according to Fitte.
Fitte also said that out of the three, Andersen AFB’s site offers the largest training area.
“Every member that attends Silver Flag will learn a multitude of skills and receive equipment that will better assist them in a contested environment while also giving personalized hands-on training with equipment that may not be available at their home station,” Fitte said. “It also gives the students the opportunity to take risks, though small in scope, which allows them to step out of their comfort zone and face adversity and failure in an exercise setting.”
This setting allows individuals to receive immediate feedback on what they did incorrectly, how it was incorrect, and how to rectify the situation in the future. Fitte said this environment sets students up with confidence to complete the tasks in a contested/deployed environment.
All students learn Rapid Airfield Damage Repair techniques, while also honing in on specific career field skills most members will experience while responding to a contingency. This foundational curriculum makes practicing Multi Capable Airmen and Agile Combat Employment skills a seamless combination. MCA and ACE give civil engineers a concise look at what the Airmen of 2030 will look like.
“In my opinion, civil engineers are the forefathers to MCA with RED HORSE being at the forefront of that,” Fitte said. “Engineers have always and will continue to have a wide breadth of experience in this, as this is a foundational competency.”
Engineers consistently use at-home skills with expeditionary requirements for base erection, site development, surveying operational locations, emergency airfield lighting systems, mobile aircraft arresting systems, water and fuel line installation and repairs, and heating and air conditioning operations among a list of other possible jobs to tackle.
“With the addition of RADR to the Airfield Damage Repair catalog, we are now seeing plumbers operating compact track loaders with 60-inch concrete saws, power production personnel running asphalt recyclers, heating, ventilation, and air condition personnel leading spall repairs,” said Fitte. “The process is still heavy repair focused but we are educating those who normally would not be near a flight line operations.”
Fitte ended with sharing a fitting quote by the Greek Poet Archilochus- “We do not rise to the level of expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
Training is something all military personnel are familiar with. All training really comes down to what the individual decides to put into it and how they pursue it.
“If a person gives their very best, they will see a difference in how they operate if or when the time arises,” Fitte said.