Red Flag Alaska 23-3 wraps up on JBER and Eielson Air Force Base

Inside the Gates
Red Flag Alaska 23-3 wraps up on JBER and Eielson Air Force Base
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 5:06 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Neighborhoods near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson Air Force Base may have experienced increased air traffic and noise within the past two weeks.

Approximately 80 aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps were buzzing in the sky, participating in a series of Pacific Air Forces field training exercises known as Red Flag-Alaska 23-3. The exercise featured around 2,000 service members from 20 units based at either JBER or Eielson operating in the Joint Pacific-Alaska Range Complex.

Red Flag 23-3 included a mixture of different mission sets of either offensive counter-air or defense counter-air mission sets.

The size of JPARC gives aircrews the chance to train at ranges that are common in a combat environment, according to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Johnston.

“One key aspect of Red Flag 23-3 is being more focused on integrating with the fifth-generation aircraft we have,” Johnston said in a statement. “We talk a lot about the advanced threat, the surface-to-air threat, and the air-to-air threat that Red Flag provides. This Red Flag in particular lets us integrate our F-35s and F-22s against the robust threat that we have in our JPARC.”

Although Red Flag is a stand-alone exercise, it provides the armed forces time to practice critical skills in a part of the world that is increasingly becoming a focal point for military operations, according to U.S. Air Force Capt. Tyler Sellers.

“So, the strategic importance of the Arctic region is paramount,” Sellers said. “If nothing else for Red Flag Alaska this allows units opportunities to practice their deployment and re-deployment regarding troop movements. It serves as a simulated forward operating base for those units that come out.”

RAAF said that flying in Alaska is different than in Australia and by joining this exercise, it provided them with integrative training.

“Being in the planning cycle together, being in the rooms together, putting names to faces, talking to each other, getting that common understanding,” Royal Australian Air Force FLTLT Noz Nelson said. “So that the next time we meet and work with another unit amongst the Indo-Pacific forces that the U.S. has, it’s not the first time that we’re meeting them.”

Nelson said his team that is in Alaska will share the lessons they learned with the rest of their team in Australia.