25th FS takes to Alaskan skies for RF-A 22-2

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Skyler Combs
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

It’s 9 A.M., and the sun is already high in the Alaskan sky. The distinctive “BRRRRT” of the A-10C Thunderbolt II’s 30mm GAU-8 Avenger cannon rips through the air, ensuring everyone knows that Exercise RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 22-2 is in full swing.

The 25th Fighter Squadron and other Airmen from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, participated in 2022’s second iteration of RF-A. Pilots, maintainers and support staff alike provided Close Air Support, along with Combat Search and Rescue capabilities for joint forces during the two-week long exercise.

“We work very closely with our [U.S.] Army counterparts, because we serve as a link between ground and other air assets,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Colleen Engelbrecht, 25th FS pilot. “While other fighter aircraft focus on air-to-air, we focus more on the air-to-ground mission. An exercise like Red Flag helps us to integrate and maximize the capabilities of our teammates on the ground.”

RF-A is designed to provide realistic training opportunities that are essential to the success of the U.S. air and space mission requirements during real-time theater operations. The Joint Pacific Alaskan Range Complex provides an ideal stage and environment for pilots and ground troops to utilize more than 77,000 square miles of airspace and terrain to test joint-engagement skills and practice combat tactics.

According to Engelbrecht, coordinated teamwork on the ground between maintainers, support staff and pilots enables effective mission execution in the air.

“It’s really impressive what these Airmen can do, especially in such a limited amount of time,” said Engelbrecht. “It’s important to have that trust there. If they had not laid that groundwork for us, we wouldn’t be making it back home.”

Team Osan Airmen worked around the clock, continuously maintaining and generating A-10s for flight operations in support of RF-A 22-2.

The newly re-designated 25th Fighter Generation Squadron truly lived up to their name despite it being the squadron’s first RF-A exercise, according to U.S. Air Force Capt. Marlon Bradley, 25th FGS director of operations.

“Our Airmen are out here working hard to ensure that we have aircraft ready to go for day-to-day operations,” said Bradley. “Red Flag is a chance for us to show what we can bring to the fight each and every day, at home or abroad.”

Team Osan Airmen contributed to the approximately 1,600 total joint and combined service members that flew, maintained and supported a diverse fleet of more than 70 aircraft from 22 units at both RF-A 22-2 execution duty locations, Eielson and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.