A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 21-02 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, June 14, 2021. (Tech. Sgt. Peter Thompson / U.S. Air Force)

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 21-02 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, June 14, 2021. (Tech. Sgt. Peter Thompson / U.S. Air Force)

Air Force kicks off major multinational exercise in Alaska

More than 100 aircraft from three countries will be involved.

Red Flag-Alaska, a major Air Force exercise hosted at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, began this week as international partners joined U.S. forces in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The Republic of Korea Air Forces and Japanese Air Self-Defense Force have both deployed detachments for the annual exercise, which took place in a limited fashion last year.

“Last year, we held a US-only [Red Flag-Alaska] exercise in August, so this is our first RF-A with international participants,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Eads, 354th Operations Group Detachment 1 commander, in a news release. “Currently, there is a lot of effort focused on knocking off the rust and relearning the muscle memory that it takes to host a Large Force Exercise with international participants.”

[Ready, set, go: Juneau marathon to be in-person once more]

The exercise, run by Pacific Air Forces, the Hawaii-based command that oversees all Air Force operations in the Asia/Pacific region, will go from June 10 to June 25, and will involve more than 1,500 servicemembers supporting more than 100 aircraft, according to the news release.

Service members from U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force listen to the Deployed Forces Commander, Col. Brian Cusson, to kick-off RED FLAG-Alaska 21-2 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, June 10, 2021. (Sheila deVera / U.S. Air Force)

Service members from U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force listen to the Deployed Forces Commander, Col. Brian Cusson, to kick-off RED FLAG-Alaska 21-2 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, June 10, 2021. (Sheila deVera / U.S. Air Force)

“The real benefit to this 21-2 exercise is the coalition, collaboration, and strengthening of our bond to our close partners in the [Pacific Command Area of Responsibility],” Eads said. “Visiting aircrews will be stressed and tested under safe and controlled environments to simulate their first ten combat sorties.”

The exercises will take place at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the large training area located in central Alaska, according to the news release. The exercise, which was truncated last year due to the pandemic, will proceed this year at full extension, incorporating international partners once again, according to the news release.

Other services have also stepped up exercises in the state, including the Navy and Marine Corps, which recently held Northern Edge 2021, involving more than 15,000 Marines, sailors and airmen.

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 21-02 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, June 14, 2021. (Tech. Sgt. Peter Thompson / U.S. Air Force)

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 21-02 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, June 14, 2021. (Tech. Sgt. Peter Thompson / U.S. Air Force)

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1-40th Cavalry, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division prepare to jump at Donnelly training area in support of RED FLAG-Alaska on June 17th, 2021. (Airman 1st Class Mario Calabro / U.S. Air Force)

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1-40th Cavalry, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division prepare to jump at Donnelly training area in support of RED FLAG-Alaska on June 17th, 2021. (Airman 1st Class Mario Calabro / U.S. Air Force)

More in News

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche, left, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, right, meet with reporters in Micciche’s office in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska, after the Legislature ended its regular session. Micciche, a Republican, and Begich, a Democrat, discussed their working relationship, as well as well as parts of the session they were either pleased with or disappointed with. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
After House balks at bigger figure, budget OK’d with $3,200 payout per Alaskan

Budget finishes as second-largest in state history by one measure, but Dunleavy could make cuts

Loren Reese, principal at Kenai Alternative High School, gives Oliver Larrow the Mr. Fix It award Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Kenai Alternative High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Alternative graduates 22, says goodbye to principal

The ceremony included special awards customized for students

Graduates throw their caps into the air at the end of Soldotna High School’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We never fell down’

Soldotna High School honors more than 100 graduates

Brandi Harbaugh gives a presentation during a joint work session on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Mill rate decrease, max school funding included in proposed borough budget

The final document is subject to approval by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

The 2022 graduating class of River City Academy celebrates Tuesday, May 17, 2022, outside of Skyview Middle School just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
River City Academy says goodbye to 19 grads, 2 original staff members

Tuesday’s graduation was the last for two staff members who have been with the school since its beginning

Lawmakers from both bodies of the Alaska State Legislature mingle in the halls of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, the last day of the legislative session, following the Senate’s passing of the state’s budget bill. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Senate agrees to budget, House has until midnight

With hours left in session, House members remain divided

Renewable IPP CEO Jenn Miller presents information about solar power during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly OKs new tax exemptions for independent power producers

The ordinance was brought forth in response to a proposed solar farm on the Kenai Peninsula

Kenai Central High School graduates throw caps at the end of their commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Make a great life’

Kenai Central High School graduates more than 75 students

A black bear gets into a bird feeder in April 2005 at Long Lake, Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Watch out for bears, moose

Take precautions to keep attractants away from bears and give moose and calves space

Most Read