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Red Flag-Rescue 22-2

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class William Turnbull
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Red Flag-Rescue is a joint exercise that involves other service branches as well as partner nations and is the Department of Defense’s premier combat search and rescue exercise held twice a year, hosted exclusively by Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and is roughly two weeks long.

Red Flag-Rescue 22-2 involved several units from the 355th Wing, from pararescuemen to pilots, as well as members from the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force Regiment and other rescue units from Nellis AFB, all converging at Playas Training Center, New Mexico, August 8-18, 2022.

Whether it is a mass casualty or a downed pilot rescue, the participants of RF-R utilize their skills learned from their respective training pipeline and sharpen them through repetition during RF-R so that if the need arises to utilize CSAR there is no room for doubt.

“RF-R is the commander of Air Combat Command directed, joint, nationally accredited personnel recovery exercise conducted at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffery Budis, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander. “We started doing RF-R about 15-20 years ago, it began right here at DM. The rescue forces at large determined that they needed deeper levels of tactical training then some of the larger force exercises of the world were able to provide.”

The exercise provides advanced, realistic and relevant air-to-surface integration warfighter training in a robust contested, degraded and operationally limited environment.

“We provide the players with a variety of challenges in their scenarios,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Warren Metcalf, RF-R 22-2 air cell team chief. “It can be something as simple as a pre-planned exercise like a downed pilot that players will have to go out and get them, but we also have scenarios where they are planning to cover a strike package but we are going to surprise them with a mass casualty event and now they have to figure out how to get to those casualties.”

Whether the U.S. military is providing humanitarian aid during a natural disaster, or proving combat power in a conflict with a near-peer adversary, learning how to execute CSAR missions in a joint-service environment will drastically improve mission success rates.

The U.S. Air Force continues building its interoperability with other nations by participating in and facilitating exercise like these in order to improve and maintain our readiness to deter, and if necessary, defeat near-peer adversaries that may arise.