Silver Flag prepares USAFE Airmen for deployment

by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Forces in Europe Airmen participated in a weeklong Silver Flag exercise here July 5 through 13. This particular exercise featured two Azerbaijanis who were here to soak up all the knowledge they can to bring it back to their fellow service members in their country.

“[We are here to take the information learned from Silver Flag and to try and employ it in the Republic of Azerbaijan],” said Azerbaijani air force Capt. Samir Aliyev, who was on site to view the training. “[I appreciate all of the help the Silver Flag team has given us].”

The training put professional Airmen from various civil engineer and services career fields together to hone their skills. The end product is an established and sustainable base in a controlled environment.

“We try to throw a little bit of everything at them just so they are not surprised when they leave [this training],” said Senior Airman Justin Bunton, 435th Construction and Training Squadron fire inspector. “We also want the Airmen to be used to wearing the equipment, it’s a lot of extra added weight and added heat ― we are trying to get them ready for what they will see downrange.”

The training consists of five days in a classroom where they cover how basic contingency operations are set up in an area of responsibility, chemical warfare and mission-oriented protective.

The last two days are spent in a field training environment. Every year they try to make this training better, said Master Sgt. Michael Lumbreras, 435th CTS fire academy manager.

“We are here to train our Airmen on what to expect in a wartime environment, it’s ‘just-in-time’ training for Airmen about to deploy.”
Lumbreras added that the course also has critiques that aid in the fine tuning of the exercise and it ensures Airmen are given the best training possible for each given scenario.