Green Flag East applies combat training to evacuation efforts

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mozer O da Cunha
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
As U.S. military assets in the path of Hurricane Florence evacuate, Air Combat Command's detachment on Barksdale, the 548th Combat Training Squadron Green Flag East, apply skills learned from combat exercises to aid in evacuation efforts.

Green Flag personnel use their experiences hosting fighter units and apply those skills to act as liaisons to facilitate maintenance and transportation between evacuating units and their host base.

“Green Flag, in a nutshell, is a close air support training exercise,” said Tech. Sgt. Luis Maldonado, Detachment 1 548th CTS NCOIC of maintenance. “We run the flying portion of that exercise out of Barksdale, and because of that we usually have fighter units here. They come in, fly and operate with Army assets on the ground at Fort Polk in south Louisiana.”

Green Flag exercises provide their assigned personnel with a unique fighter experience on what’s typically a bomber base.

“Since we do the air portion out of here we are used to getting fighter units with their aircraft and their personnel,” Maldonado said. “Because visiting units are not from here they might not necessarily know how to get things done at Barksdale.”

Acting as liaisons Green Flag personnel can use their experience of the base to facilitate and expedite request from visiting units.

“These skill sets become a great help during these hurricane evacuations,” Maldonado added. “By working with visiting unit fighters coming we are used to developing parking plans for them, a lot of times we have parking plans already set up.”

Based on its unique location on base and the nature of the exercises conducted by Green Flag, the detachment can provide adequate accommodations for both visiting fighters and personnel.

“In addition to our operational knowledge, we also have the real estate needed to make larger movements such as this one much easier,” Maldonado said. “Green Flag has its own hangar and office spaces to accommodate larger amounts of people to actually embed them so they can do what they need to do in order to get their aircraft in and out safely.”

“Providing these services is something that we are used to, “Maldonado said. “It’s an aspect of what we do normally. It works out well for us, green flag has provided hurricane evacuations assistance every year since I’ve been here, and this is my third year.”

Seymour Johnson AFB evacuated their fleet of F-15E Strike Eagles to avoid potential damage from Hurricane Florence.

“We generated 60 Aircraft here and those together come close to approximately $5 Billion dollars in assets,” Wadhams said. “The Green Flag team was vital in the success of that movement, without their support it would have been mission failure.”

Aircraft maintainers with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina describe their interactions with Green Flag personnel.

“They have been a great help,” said Capt. Cahn Wadhams, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance officer. “They assisted us with everything from vehicle support to flight line entry access, locations of the facilities that we require, radios, connectivity and pretty much everything else that’s required to run a flight line - we asked and they provided without question.”

“Whenever a maintenance unit goes on temporary duty somewhere it’s nearly impossible to bring everything that you need to make a mission happen, “Wadhams said. “Having a team like the Green Flag team helps us track down the contacts we need to get things done…we are able to just focus on our aircraft. Having that support available is vital.”

Maldonado speaks on Airmanship and teamwork.

“It’s a cool feeling being able to help these guys out when they need it,” he said. “They have a lot going on back home, while being worried about their families, but it’s good for us to take some of that worry from them so they can focus on their people and aircraft.”