Silver Flag provides training for USAFE Airmen

by Airman 1st Class Alexandria Mosness
Ramstein Public Affairs

Airmen from throughout U.S. Air Forces in Europe from as far away as Italy and England participated in a week-long contingency operations training July 27 to 31 on Ramstein.

Participants from a variety of career fields, including civil engineers, services, logistics, medical members and personnelists were among those who took part in the training.

The exercise consisted of five days of classroom training and two days of field training where Airmen had to work together to set up and sustain a base.

“Silver Flag provides core competencies for these Airmen to be able to establish a bare base anywhere in the world,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dean Hardin, 435th Construction Training Squadron command contingency training superintendent. “Each career field has a function they must complete in order for the base to be a success.”

With five different AFSCs participating at Silver Flag, it makes it vital for them to work with each other.

“It is an invigorated team environment,” Sergeant Hardin said. “No one AFSC (Air Force specialty code) can stand by itself. These Airmen have to come together out here to succeed, and they do. It is truly amazing to see Airmen who have never met one another work with such cohesion to set up a bare base and sustain it.”

The class size can vary between 100 to 200 students, and the curriculum is always changing because of the ever changing deployed environments.

“Here they will learn basic Airmen skills, as well as their own job,” Sergeant Hardin said. “There are attacks, and the Airmen also have to use combat readiness and carry simulated weapons.”

The environment represents an example of what these Airmen will be going through downrange.

“Silver Flag is good because it allows us to see and do stuff we would not be able to experience in our regular job,” said Airman 1st Class Brett Myers, 86th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering assistant. “It is good to know that I will be able to do all the aspects of my job while I am out here that I would not be able to do at my everyday job.”

Although this was Airman Myer’s first time participating in Silver Flag, he recognized the greatest value of the exercise – providing experience.

“I can rest assured I will be able to do my job in a deployed location where you only get one chance to do it,” Airman Myers said. “Experience has been the No. 1 factor at Silver Flag.”

Even though Silver Flag can be tough, it is well worth the hard work, Airman Meyer said.

“All of the career fields should come,” he said. “Not only is it very rewarding, but it is also great to possess the knowledge you gain.”

Though Silver Flag is only a week long, preparation takes place year-round.
“Planning and operations training are some of the things I do,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Fowlkes, 435th CTS lead emergency management instructor. “I am also cadre, one of the teachers of the Silver Flag exercise.”

The cadre is a very important piece to the training at Silver Flag.

“It’s about preparation for various situations they might encounter downrange,” Sergeant Fowlkes said. “Whether it is chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training or showing them a post attack, we need to show these Airmen what to do so they will be ready. It is important not only for mission success, but it could save their life.”