Fort Wayne’s 122nd Fighter Wing deployed 140 Airmen and 12 A-10C “Warthogs” to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana in support of Green Flag East. The primary objective of the three-week long Green Flag exercise was to prepare nearly 4,000 Soldiers for a potential combat deployment.
“Green Flag East was a good opportunity to practice the skills we would need to operate in a combat environment,” said Lt. Col. Bill Leahy, 163rd Fighter Squadron Commander. “Our aircraft maintainer’s performance was nothing short of outstanding.”
The 122nd Fighter Wing, also known as the Blacksnakes, took advantage of this exercise to prepare their airmen for potential overseas deployment. Key elements included aircraft maintenance, execution of the mission and transportation of equipment, airmen and supplies.
“One highlight of the exercise was the successful accomplishment of a combat search and rescue operation,” said Leahy. “This was a great opportunity for our A-10 Attack Pilots to practice their response following an enemy shoot down of a friendly aircraft. The scenario involved the simulated shoot down of an F-15 pilot, who was located in a forested area of Louisiana. Our A-10 pilots were able to successfully locate the downed pilot, deal with enemy threats and recover the pilot before opposition forces were able to close in.”
Most of the 122nd Fighter Wing’s missions consisted of Close Air Support, many of them involving the employment of live munitions, while others were dedicated to support in an urban environment. One unique training opportunity occurred at the Toledo Bend Reservoir, where A-10 pilots were tasked to locate, identify and simulate the engagement of small fast boats. The exercise exposed pilots to a potential threat posed by various terrorist organizations and pirates.
“I could not be more proud of the performance by our airmen at Green Flag East!” Col. Augustine, the 122nd Fighter Wing Commander said. “I am highly confident in our ability to meet any combat tasking that we may be called upon to execute.”
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