Defense Department News

Exercise Red Flag 17-3 Commences in Nevada


Red Flag 17-3, a three-week air-to-air combat joint training exercise, commenced here yesterday, Air Force officials said.

Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait for pilots to walk to three F-35B Lightning IIs on the first day of Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10. Red Flag 17-3 is a realistic combat training exercise involving the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps and this iteration is the first to have both the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II and the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II, which is capable of short takeoff vertical landing.
Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait for pilots to walk to three F-35B Lightning IIs on the first day of Exercise Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10, 2017. Red Flag 17-3 is a realistic combat training exercise involving the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. This iteration of the exercise is the first to feature both the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II and the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II, which is capable of short takeoff vertical landing. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens
Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait for pilots to walk to three F-35B Lightning IIs on the first day of Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10. Red Flag 17-3 is a realistic combat training exercise involving the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps and this iteration is the first to have both the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II and the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II, which is capable of short takeoff vertical landing.
Marine Corps, Air Force F-35s come together for ground-breaking exercise
Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait for pilots to walk to three F-35B Lightning IIs on the first day of Exercise Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10, 2017. Red Flag 17-3 is a realistic combat training exercise involving the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. This iteration of the exercise is the first to feature both the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II and the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II, which is capable of short takeoff vertical landing. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens
Photo By: Sgt. Lillian Stephens
VIRIN: 170710-M-QU349-0079

Officials said Red Flag consists of a variety of attack, fighter and bomber aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, airlift support, search-and-rescue aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and ground-based command and control, space and cyber forces.

The exercise concludes July 28.

Base leadership reminds southern Nevada residents they may notice increased military aircraft activity during the exercise.

Aircraft will depart here twice daily to participate in combat training missions on the Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas in one of the Air Force’s largest joint exercises.

Joint Warfighting Exercise

“For Red Flag, we bring in our joint warfighters with their capabilities and their equipment,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Sadler, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander. “We come together and fight as a team. And, we get to learn from each other as we do that.”

Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighter jets will participate alongside the Air Force’s F-35A’s for the first time in Red Flag history.

 “We get to learn in a realistic training environment as we continue to progress down the road with this platform and other fifth-generation or fourth-generation aircraft,” Sadler said.

Four F-35B Lightning IIs with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait to take off on the first day of Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10. Red Flag 17-3 is a realistic combat training exercise involving the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps and this iteration is the first to have both the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II and the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II, which is capable of short takeoff vertical landing.
Four F-35B Lightning IIs with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait to take off on the first day of Exercise Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens
Four F-35B Lightning IIs with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait to take off on the first day of Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10. Red Flag 17-3 is a realistic combat training exercise involving the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps and this iteration is the first to have both the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II and the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II, which is capable of short takeoff vertical landing.
Marine Corps, Air Force F-35s come together for ground-breaking exercise
Four F-35B Lightning IIs with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait to take off on the first day of Exercise Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens
Photo By: Sgt. Lillian Stephens
VIRIN: 170710-M-QU349-0134

Having two F-35 units at Red Flag provides a team-building opportunity, he said.

‘We’re Not Going to War Alone’

“We’re not going to go to war alone,” Sadler said. “The more we can do joint exercises like Red Flag -- where we get everybody together and learn from each other -- the more we can better use each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures to successfully go after whatever the problem set is.”

More than 2,500 joint warfighters will participate in Red Flag 17-3, officials said.

“Red Flag gives our joint warfighters the opportunity to promote their readiness through innovation,” Sadler said. “They may have to go outside their comfort zone and take risks with their innovation. But at the end of the day if they see positive, successful outcomes toward the objectives, then that’s immediate positive feedback on readiness we’re looking for here at Red Flag.”