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28th Bomb Wing Leads Red Flag-Nellis 23-3

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Levi Rowse
  • 28th Bomb Wing

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Members of the 28th Bomb Wing braved the 120-degree heat here to lead the ‘Blue Force’ during Red Flag-Nellis 23-3, July 17 - Aug. 4, 2023.

Thousands of service members, 39 joint force units, and 80 aircraft participated in realistic combat training scenarios in preparation for future warfare, provided by the 414th Combat Training Squadron, 57th Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

“The key objectives in this iteration include strengthening joint force integration, capitalizing on our mobility force with tanker integration, and enhancing proficiency in Agile Combat Employment with an emphasis on agile logistics capabilities,” said Col. Eric Winterbottom, 414th CTS commander. “These objectives aim to enhance the overall operational capabilities, readiness, and joint effectiveness across the spectrum.”

Red Flag exercises provide invaluable training for the ‘Blue Force’, including joint and total-force units from the U.S. Marine Corps , Navy, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves, and special operations personnel. The 23-3 iteration provided a unique opportunity to plan and execute missions to meet combat training scenario objectives in a face-to-face environment while maximizing joint learning. Members were challenged during dispersed operations by dynamic and adaptable threats simulated by ‘Red Force’ aggressors from the 57th Wing.

ACE addresses today’s changing threat environment, which no longer allows the Air Force to treat overseas bases as sanctuaries, by shifting the generation of airpower from large, centralized bases to networks of smaller, dispersed locations or cluster bases.

The 28th Bomb Wing formed the core of the exercise’s Air Expeditionary Wing, leading the ‘Blue Force’ and providing logistics, maintenance, operations support, and other wing staff functions, that enabled receipt of forces, mission generation, and redeployment of forces across cluster bases. This ACE maneuver integrated with the U.S. Navy’s Composite Training Unit in executing hundreds of ‘Blue’ combat training sorties over the Pacific Ocean across multiple days of operations against robust air and maritime threats.

Col. Mark Kimball, 28th Operations Group commander and RF 23-3 AEW commander, says exercising elements of ACE enabled the Ellsworth team to practice leading operations from locations with varying levels of capacity and support, ensuring Airmen and aircrews are postured to respond across the spectrum of conflict.

Red Flag has always been the premier tactical training exercise,” said Kimball. “The Red Flag environment doesn’t just strengthen our ability to generate combat power at speed, scale and across great distances, it also helps deter conflict and promote peace and stability.”