36th FS participates in RF-A 22-1

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Megan Estrada
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 36th Fighter Squadron from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, provided Suppression of Enemy Air Defense and Air Interdiction support in this year’s first iteration of RED FLAG-Alaska 22-1.

RF-A 22-1 is a two-week long exercise that enables U.S. forces to integrate, train and fly with international forces under simulated air combat conditions in order to enhance combat readiness and strengthen the security of the Indo-Pacific.

“RF-A 22-1 is a joint exercise designed to emulate the first 10 missions that a fighter pilot might experience in an actual war,” said Capt. Matthew Croghan, 36th FS chief of standardizations and evaluations. “The 36th FS is participating as fighters who degrade and suppress surface-to-air-missiles that might try and shoot down any of our friendly allied fighters and bombers.”

There are approximately 2,200 service members from the U.S. and allied countries participating in this exercise, enabling pilots to gain experience outside of their home stations to become better equipped for real world scenarios where multiple fighter squadrons will be employed simultaneously.

“It’s been a really great learning experience for me. I’ve learned how to integrate with other countries and aircraft, and what the mission planning cycle looks like to coordinate 20 to 30 aircraft at once,” said 1st Lt. Chandler Jax, 36th FS new wingman.

Not only did the 36th FS gain exposure to what it’s like working with a multitude of aircraft and other service members, they also acquired crucial weapons training through the help and servicing of the 51st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

“Our job out here is to support the 36th FS, maintain proficiency and drop munitions. We provide the proper amount of aircraft they need in order to do their mission,” said 1st Lt. Ben Waters, 51st AMXS, RF-A 22-1 officer in charge. “It’s been great; we work really well together. They tell us the amazing things they’re able to do and how we’ve helped in providing that.”

Croghan explained that if it wasn’t for the support from the 51st AMXS during this exercise they wouldn’t have been able to get a jet off the ground. With the assistance from maintenance the 36th FS will be leaving this exercise with newly honed skills to bring back to Osan.

“It’s important for the 36th FS to participate in RF-A 22-1 because we’re getting valuable integration training and employing weapons that we can’t regularly employ,” said Croghan. “Being able to employ actual ordnance is a tremendous skill that we’re going to bring home with us and developing our integration across multiple fighter platforms is going to be critical as we move forward in our careers.”