By Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 25, 2021
Maintenance Airmen with the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron conduct post-flight checks on a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber during Red Flag 21-1, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 22, 2021. Red Flag 21-1 is the U.S. Air Force's premier air-to-air combat training exercise that provides opportunity to enhance readiness and training as a joint force, enabling Whiteman to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. William Deitt, 509th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, sets up a cordon during Red Flag 21-1, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 22, 2021. Along with aircrew, Team Whiteman brought approximately 100 Airmen to participate in the large force exercise and to be the lead wing. As the lead Wing, RF 21-1 enables Team Whiteman to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency, while validating our always-ready global strike capability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert)
A 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron crew chief guides a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to a parking place during Red Flag 21-1, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 22, 2021. Well-trained Airmen are an important component to readiness and RF 21-1 prepare Airmen for future threats through experience in realistic combat scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert)
A B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber lands on the runway for Red Flag 21-1, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 22, 2021. Red Flag 21-1 is a large force exercise that is the U.S. Air Force's premier air-to-air combat training exercise and provides aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert)
Team Whiteman launched four B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers and sent a large contingent of personnel to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to lead Red Flag 21-1, starting Jan. 25.
Although participating in the large force exercise is not unfamiliar to Whiteman, it is the first time in years the 509th Bomb Wing piloted the exercise as the RF 21-1 Air Expeditionary Wing lead. Leading RF 21-1 enables Whiteman to maintain a high state of readiness and validates our always ready global strike capability.
“It’s an honor to have the opportunity lead a great team of air, space and cyberspace professionals through such a historical exercise,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, Air Expeditionary Wing and 509th Bomb Wing commander. “I believe it will benefit Team Whiteman’s force as a whole by producing ready, well-trained Airmen, and enabling them to operate in real-time war scenarios to test their readiness capabilities.”
Born out of American patriotism and grit, the development of Red Flag was a response to the mass casualties that transpired during the Vietnam War. The Air Force would not settle for those costly results again. Leaders combined their intelligence and experience from the first 10 combat mission from the Vietnam War and devised a way to better prepare their forces for those similar combat scenarios.
Since 1975, thousands of service members have benefitted from RF, strengthening their aircrews to perform optimally under contingent conditions.
“As a wing with a critical global deterrence responsibility, we already regularly train our Airmen to out-think, out-maneuver, out-partner and out innovate threats to American security and its allies,” said Lt. Col. Chris Conant, 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. “With RF, we get to take that routine training to a whole new level.”
Conant continued, stating RF 21-1 provides a unique experience for both seasoned and new Team Whiteman personnel.
“The scenarios created during this exercise are made to challenge all of our personnel—from the lowest ranking enlisted to the highest ranking officer,” said Conant.
Along with challenging scenarios, working with different countries and utilizing the large 2.9 million square acres airspace contributes to the fame of this triannual LFE.
As Whiteman continues to train the next few weeks, Airmen and their peers are looking forward to the experience.
“I am really excited about our Whiteman Airmen getting to show how good they are at their job and showcase how incredible the B-2 bomber really is,” said Senior Master Sgt. Alex Rodriguez, 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent. “The Red Flag exercise offers some of the best experience our aviators will get and will prepare them for the real mission, which Team Whiteman is always ready for.”