Live ammunition training prepares Airmen for Red Flag
By Tech. Sgt. Araceli Alarcon, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 22, 2017
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
With a backdrop of blue skies and miles of mountain ranges, Misawa maintainers and pilots walk the flight line of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, with a crucial mindset and mission in hand--fight tonight.
In efforts to prepare 35th Fighter Wing pilots and maintainers for RED FLAG and real-world scenarios, Airmen began live ammunition training during Distant Frontier, May 15 to 26.
“We take advantage of Distant Frontier as an opportunity to practice various skillsets, like low level flying, basic service attacks and close air support,” said Capt. Benjamin Walters a 13th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot. “This is something we don’t get at home due to air space restrictions.”
For Misawa maintainers, specifically weapons Airmen, DF is an opportunity to work and load live ammunitions and ensure weapons systems work properly.
“Our Airmen are getting the experience of loading live weapons and doing post-load inspections for a live weapons fire,” said Senior Master Sgt. David Allshouse, the 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. “Our goal is to meet every sortie and never see a live weapon come back because of a maintenance malfunction.”
Honing these skills and maintaining proficiency is crucial for pilots and their maintainer counterparts throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. It is one way Wild Weasels promote security cooperation with allies--deterring aggression and being ready to fight tonight when called upon.
“You need to have a very inherent ability to employ ordnances and you don’t want those skills to atrophy because they are foundational to how we fly,” explains Walters. “There are a lot of things going on within the Pacific theater and we can be called on at any time to do our job; we need to be ready.”