Alaska jets fly south for the winter

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cassie Whitman
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Approximately 150 personnel and 11 F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron traveled to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to support the F-16 weapons instructor course (WIC) at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School.

“The course was founded as a center of excellence for tactical aviation,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Nudi, the 354th Operations Group deputy commander. “In an effort to provide the most demanding tactical aviation course, the school needs world-class adversary air. The aggressors support this course by partnering with other adversary squadrons to provide the WIC students a premier near-peer adversary to train against.”

The temporary 6-month assignment to Nellis directly supports the wing commander’s priority of premier air exercises and adversary support.

According to Lt. Col. Gregory Keller, the 18th AGRS commander, aggressor participation is essential in providing the most realistic adversary threat replication possible.

Not only does the course train in adversary support, but it also prepares U.S. forces for the dynamic, ever-changing challenges of 21st century combat.

“The WIC teaches students the skills necessary to integrate combat power across multiple domains,” Keller said. “In modern warfare, it is impossible to win a war by focusing on only one aspect of combat power. The course challenges students become tactical experts in their own weapons system and also how to integrate their unique skill sets with those of other Air Force and sister service units.”

While the aggressors are primarily a support asset at the weapons school, they still benefit from the course and are able to take their newfound knowledge back to the snow-covered Eielson landscape.

“We challenge ourselves with new scenarios and new environments during every TDY,” Keller said. “Additionally, TDYs allow our operations and maintenance teams to work in collaboration to accomplish the mission without the comforts and advantages our home station provides.”

The aggressors are scheduled to participate in several more exercises before the upcoming RED FLAG-Alaska season, which will entail four joint exercises during the 2018 calendar year.