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127th Wing Airmen receive real-world training at Green Flag

An A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from the Michigan Air National Guard’s 107th Fighter Squadron, 127th Wing, is seen in flight at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 12, 2021. The city of Las Vegas skyline can be seen in the background.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from the Michigan Air National Guard’s 107th Fighter Squadron, 127th Wing, is seen in flight at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 12, 2021. The city of Las Vegas skyline can be seen in the background. Airmen from the 127th Wing are participating in Green Flag-West, a Joint Force combat exercise, to ensure maximum combat readiness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Robert Porter, a fuels specialist with the 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 127th Wing, supports A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft operations at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 12, 2021.

Staff Sgt. Robert Porter, a fuels specialist with the 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 127th Wing, supports A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft operations at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 12, 2021. Airmen from the 127th Wing are participating in Green Flag-West, a Joint Force combat exercise, to ensure maximum combat readiness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dan Heaton)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Approximately 130 Airmen and 11 aircraft from the 127th Wing traveled to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada last month to participate in Green Flag-West 21-03, a realistic air-land combat, close air-support training exercise, designed to give Airmen the experience of working in a deployed environment. 

Approximately 130 pilots and maintainers from both the 127th Operations and 127th Maintenance Groups, participated in the exercise that spanned three weeks and included around-the-clock flying missions over Southern California and Nevada. 

Green Flag occurs several times per year, combining close air-support with tactical ground training conducted by the Army at the National Training Center, in Fort Irwin, California. The operational environment at Green Flag-West is ideal for simulating working conditions at many of the deployed locations in the U. S. Central Command’s area of responsibility. 

Senior Airman Erica Spaulding,a weapons loader with the 127th Maintenance Group and member of the Michigan Air National Guard four years, has participated in multiple exercises similar to Green Flag. Spaulding feels the exercise has served as a realistic representation of carrying out a real-world mission. 

“I deployed to Afghanistan for seven months in 2019,” said Spaulding. “This exercise is most comparable to a deployed environment; between the operations tempo, flying schedule, and munitions that we are loading.”

In the air, A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots conducted flying operations in coordination with joint terminal attack controllers on the ground, dropping live ordnance. The JTAC’s, based out of Fort Irwin, California, directed pilots to confirmed targets; simulating the response that could occur during a close-air support mission. 

 “I’ve learned a lot by interacting with the other career fields here,” said Airman 1st Class Bradley Ciaramitaro, an aircraft engine mechanic with the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 

Training in austere environments promotes the efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability of Airmen. Aircraft maintainers, crew chiefs, and weapons loaders from around the total force train each year to ensure readiness during real-world operations. For the 127th Wing, Green Flag-West 2021 provided pilots and maintainers with training that allows the 127th Wing to stand ready to respond to the state and nation.

On the flight line, engine mechanics, weapons loaders, avionics technicians, and other specialty fields work side by side to get aircraft into the air as quick, and safe, as possible. 

“Maintenance is more in-the-moment, while working in the operational environment; we ask lot of questions, and get to work together in diagnosing a problem,” Ciaramataro said.