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37th Bomb Squadron departs for Green Flag

Aircrews from the 37th Bomb Squadron were among the approximately 140 Airmen participating in Green Flag who boarded a commercial aircraft at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Sept. 26, 2013. During the two-week exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev., Airmen will have an opportunity to develop key partnerships with other participating allied forces and hone the skills they will use during future deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Hada/Released)

Aircrews from the 37th Bomb Squadron were among the approximately 140 Airmen participating in Green Flag who boarded a commercial aircraft at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Sept. 26, 2013. During the two-week exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev., Airmen will have an opportunity to develop key partnerships with other participating allied forces and hone the skills they will use during future deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Hada/Released)

Airmen from the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and 37th Bomb Squadron load luggage into a commercial aircraft destined for Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., prior to departure at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., Sept. 26, 2013. Approximately 140 Airmen and B-1 bombers from Ellsworth will be participating in Green Flag at Nellis, an exercise designed to test the base’s ability to survive and operate in a wartime environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Hada/Released)

Airmen from the 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and 37th Bomb Squadron load luggage into a commercial aircraft destined for Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., prior to departure at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., Sept. 26, 2013. Approximately 140 Airmen and B-1 bombers from Ellsworth will be participating in Green Flag at Nellis, an exercise designed to test the base’s ability to survive and operate in a wartime environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Hada/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- B-1 bomber aircrews assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron and a myriad of support personnel from several other groups departed Ellsworth recently to conduct training missions over Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., from Sept. 26 to Oct. 9.

Capt. James Lebeau, 37th BS B-1 pilot, explained that the Green Flag exercise - designed to prepare our aircrews and support personnel for upcoming deployments to Southwest Asia - is crucial this year in light of reduced flying hours at Ellsworth since the start of 2013.

"With fewer flying hours over the past year, aircrews haven't had as much time to fine-tune their abilities," Lebeau said. "This exercise provides an opportunity to sharpen our Airmen's skills and build confidence."

Lt. Col. Stuart Newberry, 37th BS commander, said the exercise will be the squadron's capstone before they deploy later this year.

"We'll be flying close-air-support and other integrated missions with the Army," said Newberry. "Our goal is to replicate situations and scenarios we will see downrange including various live-fire training scenarios."

In addition to critical training time in the cockpit for aircrews, Airmen will be honing their skills in a number of different areas to include launching and receiving aircraft, performing repairs, marshaling, fueling aircraft and loading weapons during the annual two-week exercise.

Second Lt. Jeffrey Hutchins, 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge, said more than 140 Airmen and five B-1s will be participating in Green Flag.

"Our goal is to help increase situational awareness and therefore, minimize risk associated with day-to-day operations," Hutchins said. "These types of exercises can also help our newer Airmen gain experience. That way, they can have a better idea of what operations are like downrange."

Lebeau added that Airmen will also have a chance to develop key partnerships with other allied forces participating in the exercise.

"We'll be working side-by-side with more than 3,000 Soldiers who are also getting ready to deploy," Lebeau said. "The idea is to make sure everyone will participate in a more realistic training environment."

Since 1975, Air Force aircrews and other U.S. military branches and allies have taken part in several Green Flag exercises, each of which is two weeks in duration.









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