Successful completion of CCT signifies end of an era
By Maj. Eric Hilliard, Cooperative Cope Thunder PA
/ Published July 31, 2006
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder comes to an end today at Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force Bases in Alaska.
As the deployed commander representing the 35th Fighter Wing--one of 5th Air Force's premiere fighter wings, Col. Cabot oversaw more than 1200 service-members from 13 different countries in what has been deemed the largest multi-national combat training exercise in the Pacific.
Assisted by his senior enlisted advisor and 35th Operations Group superintendent CMSgt Brett Allison, and the Air Expeditionary Group commander, Col. Greg Nelson, Col. Cabot and his staff successfully completed exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder 06-3.
Through outstanding cooperation by the 354 Fighter Wing and host wing commander Brig. Gen. David Scott, logistically the exercise provided more than 700 meals a day during lunch and dinner, 500 beds on and off base, fleet vehicles and other services that would typically put a large strain on most installations.
"I truly appreciate support of the host wing and I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish here this year," said Col. Cabot. "We got people in, executed two weeks of air combat operations, and now we are sending people home. I would say that this was a very successful exercise," he said.
After this iteration of Cooperative Cope Thunder, the exercise will be called Red Flag Alaska. Along with the name change, Red Flag Alaska will carry with it all the training capabilities that Red Flag Nellis currently has--to include a dedicated aggressor squadron assigned Eielson.
Merging/transforming CCT into Red Flag Alaska also enhances the unique characteristics and strengths of both exercises and improves the quality of training for the participants and increases the number of training opportunities for both US and international forces.
Additionally, next year the 353 CTS and all operations for Red Flag Alaska will fall under the 354th Fighter Wing.
"We are excited about bring the 353CTS and Red Flag Alaska in to our fold," said Brig. Gen. Scott, 354 FW Commander.
"This fits right in with Air Force Smart Ops-21 initiatives," he said referring to how AFSO21 seeks to build on initial successes and work to fully integrate continuous improvement into all we do across the Air Force--especially in operational, maintenance, logistics, and support environments.
Now that the exercise is over, the redeployment of personnel and equipment will be the steady state over the next week. The entire process will start all over in a few months when planning for the next multi-national Red Flag Alaska begins.