EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska –
With several joint forces assembled for RED FLAG-Alaska 14-3, Eielson hosted the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323, also known as the "Death Rattlers," assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
The Death Rattlers tested their combat capabilities in the multi-service coordinated aerial operations exercise.
The training allowed aircrew and maintainers to assess a different facet of their abilities. It enabled pilots to train with a variety of different aircraft on air-to-air and air-to-ground training scenarios.
"In case we have to prepare for a live scenario, aircrews now know exactly what their boundaries and strong points are," said Gunnery Sgt. Enel Laborn, VMFA-323 quality assurance representative.
Maintainers were able to enhance their efficiency by maintaining Hornets in peak condition without all the parts usually accessible at home station.
"We don't always have the most beautiful birds, but they are reliable," said Sgt. James Argentry Uelbelhoer-belt, VMFA-323 communications and navigations.
As a multi-role aircraft with fighter and attack capabilities, the Hornets are reliable and flexible in adapting to various combat conditions.
"It feels real to us maintainers. Jets go out, they come back, they have issues and then we prepare for the next mission," explained Laborn.
The combination of a joint setting, cold nights and long hours of daylight created the environmental difference between Eielson and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
"If we had to do this for real, wherever it may be, we will come together and defend our nation," said Laborn. "I think that is a very noble thing."