Air Force training exercises to be held at Eielson

Pilots to train squadrons from across the nation

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2007

FAIRBANKS - Alaska's Interior will be the setting for extensive Air Force training sessions next year.

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The Air Force will host Red Flag training events in which pilots at Eielson Air Force Base will prepare squadrons from around the nation for combat, according to Brig. Gen. Mark W. Graper, commander of the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson.

The primary training will be conducted in three Red Flag-Alaska and one Northern Edge training exercises to be held next year, Graper told the members of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

"It doesn't have a catchy slogan like 'deploy overseas and kill bad guys,' but it's still important," Graper said.

The Red Flag-Alaska events will be held in April, May and October, and the Northern Edge training will be held in June.

Each of the training events will involve 1,000 Eielson personnel and 600 to 1,100 temporary duty personnel making use of the Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the largest air to ground training area on U.S. soil.

Statistically, most pilots get shot down within the first 10 missions, according to officials. The training exercises simulate those missions. In the training, Eielson soldiers play the "bad guys," with specially painted F-16 fight jets to simulate enemy fighters.

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