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NEWS | May 10, 2024

51st FW F-16 Fighting Falcons take the lead in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1

By Senior Airman Kaitlin Frazier, 51st Fighter Wing

The 51st Fighter Wing took charge as the lead wing in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 hosted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, from April 18 - May 3, 2024.

RF-A 24-1 is a multi-service, combat operations training event aimed to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures while enhancing interoperability. Some of the allies and partners who participated in the training event included service members from Italy and the Netherlands as well as the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron, 36th Fighter Generation Squadron, 51st Operation Support Squadron and 51st FW augmentees trained alongside sister services and allied nations.

“It’s important for us to integrate with other services and countries because there is not a single fight we go to in modern day where only U.S. Air Force assets are present,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Laurence D’agostino, 36th Fighter Squadron operation project officer for RF-A 24-1, “Working with other services and partners allows us to learn how they operate overall to improve our lethality as a force.”

During this iteration of RF-A, pilots were tasked with mission sets that were made to simulate realistic combat scenarios such as suppression of enemy air defenses, offensive counter air and defensive counter air. A total of 14 U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 36th FS took part in RF-A 24-1.

“I thought the training was a fantastic experience for myself and all of our pilots overall,” said D’agostino. “Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 allowed us to be more proficient from a planning perspective due to the complexity of having more than 45 airborne aircraft fighting at the same time.”

RF-A 24-1 was conducted at Eielson AFB on the Joint Pacific Alaska Air Range Complex. This training can be adapted to integrate various forces into a realistic threat environment using more than 77,000 square miles of airspace. During this iteration of the training event, approximately 2,000 service members flew, maintained and supported more than 60 aircraft from 15 units during this iteration of the training exercise.

The 51st FW plans to participate in RF-A 24-2, from May 30 - June 14, 2024.

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