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Wild Weasel maintainers learn joint, multilateral tactics at Red Flag-Alaska 19-1

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cody Fugate, left, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, speaks with Staff Sgt. Orin Fitzpatrick, center, a 35th Maintenance Squadron F-16 crew chief, and Tech. Sgt. Michael Zimmermann, right, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit expeditor, during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. While the primary focus of the exercise is ally development and cohesion, Team Misawa maintainers found the training to be beneficial to expanding their skill-set due to the fast-paced operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cody Fugate, left, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, speaks with Staff Sgt. Orin Fitzpatrick, center, a 35th Maintenance Squadron F-16 crew chief, and Tech. Sgt. Michael Zimmermann, right, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit expeditor, during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. While the primary focus of the exercise is ally development and cohesion, Team Misawa maintainers found the training to be beneficial to expanding their skill sets due to the fast-paced operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kelsie Walls, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, tightens a screw on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Maintainers repair jets alongside joint and multilateral partners from around the world affording them opportunities to exchange tactics, operations techniques and procedures which improves international interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kelsie Walls, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, tightens a screw on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Maintainers repaired jets alongside joint and multilateral partners from around the world, affording them opportunities to exchange tactics, operations techniques and procedures, which improve international interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Orin Fitzpatrick, a 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief, looks at Senior Airman Cody Fugate, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. While the primary focus of the exercise is ally development and cohesion, Team Misawa members found the training to be beneficial in the development of their trade skills due to performing fast-paced operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Orin Fitzpatrick, a 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief, watches Senior Airman Cody Fugate, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, perform maintenance on an F-16 during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. While the primary focus of the exercise is ally development and cohesion, Team Misawa members found the training to be beneficial in the development of their trade skills due to the fast-paced operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Zimmermann, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit expeditor, left, walks across an F-16 Fighting Falcon wing, while Senior Airman Cody Fugate, center, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, makes a repair to the aircraft's panel during Exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Fugate is responsible for launching and recovering jets while performing routine maintenance such as tire inspections, damaged parts repair and administering hydro oil to the jet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Zimmermann, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit expeditor, left, walks across an F-16 Fighting Falcon wing, while Senior Airman Cody Fugate, center, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, makes a repair to the aircraft's panel during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Fugate is responsible for launching and recovering jets while performing routine maintenance such as tire inspections, damaged parts repair and administering hydro oil to the jet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cody Fugate, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, smiles while on top of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Fugate is responsible for launching recovery jets and performing routine maintenance such as tire inspections, damaged parts repair and administering hydraulic oil to the jet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cody Fugate, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, smiles while on top of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Fugate is responsible for launching recovery jets and performing routine maintenance such as tire inspections, damaged parts repair and administering hydraulic oil to the jet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kelsie Walls, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, communicates over a headset with a pilot prior to take-off during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Maintainers repair jets alongside joint and multilateral partners from around the world affording them opportunities to exchange tactics, operations techniques and procedures which improves international interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kelsie Walls, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, communicates over a headset with a pilot prior to take-off during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. Maintainers repaired jets alongside joint and multilateral partners from around the world, affording them opportunities to exchange tactics, operations techniques and procedures, which improve international interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon taxis down the runway during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. During the exercise, Team Misawa maintainers worked diligently to inspect and repair multiple jets prior to take-off enhancing pilot safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon taxis down the runway during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. During the exercise, Team Misawa maintainers worked diligently to inspect and repair multiple jets prior to takeoff, enhancing pilot safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes flight during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. During the exercise, Misawa Air Base maintainers work diligently to inspect and repair multiple jets prior to take-off in order to enhance pilot safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes flight during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 9, 2018. During the exercise, Misawa Air Base maintainers worked diligently to inspect and repair multiple jets prior to takeoff in order to enhance pilot safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Maintenance Airmen with the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan, are applying their maintenance skills and knowledge during exercise RED FLAG-Alaska 19-1 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 4 to 19.

Due to the vast air space and minimal limitations in Alaska, Airmen have the opportunity to put their developed maintenance skills and aircraft understanding to the ultimate test during this exercise.

“This exercise is the best training our pilots and maintainers can receive,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cody Fugate, a 13th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief. “I appreciate the fast-paced tempo because I can take this work ethic back to my home duty station. Despite being in a new place with new faces, which can be an adjustment, I know being here is important because it gives me a chance to expand my skill set.”

Although it may not be ideal to leave the comfort of one’s duty station, that uprooting is giving Misawa Airmen an opportunity to conduct training in a joint and multilateral environment, which can lead to an invaluable and unforgettable experience, said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Joseph Stainford, the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 sergeant major.

“It's very unique to have 50 to 60 aircraft in the sky with your allies,” Stainford continued. “This exercise allows us to conduct air-to-air sorties with our sister services and international counterparts in the biggest airspace the world has to offer. I commend the maintainers because their hard work and dedication to supporting the pilots makes this mission possible.”

From tactics and techniques to procedures and protocol, Misawa Airmen strive to remain resilient while working in a new location, despite Alaska’s various challenges.

“We are working against the elements here,” said Fugate. “The weather is harsh and something I have to work through daily. But as a crew chief, we don't give up, that's just not us. We always find a way to succeed and overcome obstacles.”

While conquering challenges and focusing on developing and improving his trade, Fugate keeps centered while he also finds solitude in exercise RF-A 19-1’s significance to America and strengthening relations with its allies.

“Knowing I had a hand in putting these jets back together makes me proud to be a Misawa maintainer,” expressed Fugate. “RED FLAG has taught me how to be quick, observant and how to adapt in a new work space. Without these types of exercises, we wouldn't be known as the world's greatest Air Force.”