Hello again from my adventure at Mountain Home. Tuesday has come and gone, and another solid day of practice for Red Flag is under the Indian Air Force’s belts. With 91 officers and 156 personnel, the IAF brought eight SU-30 MK-I aircraft, two IL-78 air-to-air refuellers and one IL-76 transport aircraft to Mountain Home AFB in Idaho for training. With two missions each day; a day and night sortie, the IAF is maximizing the availible ranges and guidance from the Gunfighters of the 366th Fighter Wing.
My day started out with a warm welcome by Colonel James Browne, commander of the 366th Fighter Wing. He leads an operational fighter wing of more than 4,800 military and civilian members and three squadrons of F-15C and F-15E fighter aircraft. Without the Col’s help, none of this amazing access would have been possible.
Shortly after my wonderful PA staff, led by SSgt Reif, took me to get a behind the scenes look as the intricate planning that goes into each mission. With a multinational force to control and schedule, scheduling becomes an artform.
With no less then 20 planes in the air at one time, callsigns, take offs, jets down for maintence, and whose flying in which jet become just as valuable as knowing how to drop a precison bomb. And it’s 2nd Lt Jeremy Robinson, Assistant Chief of Scheduling’s responsibility to make it all happen.
We then went out to the flight line and got some pictures of the day launch and recovery. And as with most missions, the tankers are always the first to go.
Then it was time for the Flankers, Falcons, and Eagles to launch.
Here’s a shot of the host squadron, 390th FS “Wild Boars” in front of the IL-78 Tanker and the “GUNFIGHTER COUNTRY” hangar.
And as with any multinational exercise, the key is cooperation and communication. Here is Capt Tom Gustin, Chief of Wing Training for the 366 OSS and Sq Leader Zacharia Thompson, a Pilot from the IAF, in the control tower working together to ensure the missions go off without an issues.
And then it was time to recover the jets.
With a quick break to grab some dinner, it was back to the flight line for the evening night mission. What a beautiful sunset.
And then it was time to taxi out, and take off!!!
What an exciting day!!! And there is still even more to come!! So Shukriya and I’ll post some more stuff tomorrow!