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Team Whiteman takes to Nellis AFB skies, kicks off RF-N 21-1 as lead wing

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sadie Colbert
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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.”