YUKON TRAINING AREA, Alaska - Troopers from 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division participated in Red Flag- Alaska, a joint exercise with participation from the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as the Republic of Singapore Air Force, May 8-23 in the Yukon Training Area.
“We are completely tied in the scenario both with the air battle itself as well as the close air support mission,” said Lt. Col. Erik Krivda, 5-1 CAV squadron commander.
Troopers faced scenarios requiring mounted and dismounted patrols and worked directly with Air Force joint terminal attack controllers throughout the exercise.
“Our mission was to conduct security operations,” said Capt. Andrew Owens, B Troop 5-1 CAV troop commander.
Troopers took their positions laying in the dirt, weapons at the ready, as they observed a named area of interest. The JTAC requested air support and the troopers were able to watch as the rounds hit their mark. The platoon then provided small arms fire and moved back to Stryker vehicles and continued their mission.
“The air-ground integration has been phenomenal,” said Krivda.
Troopers on the ground synchronized with the air support, talking to the aircraft conducting a live–fire exercise.
“As the air battle is going on, as they are going through the valley here at the Yukon Training Area looking for anti-aircraft equipment, the day prior our scouts have [observed] the objectives and provided the intelligence reports and situation reports of what is on the ground,” said Krivda.
The exercise has provided troopers an opportunity to work with assets they have not had access to before.
“The ability for especially junior leaders to have enabling assets, not only our organic artillery but those air assets, it is something a lot of them never had an opportunity to do before,” said Owens. “Every day you can see the progression and improvement.”
Having JTAC with the troopers and access to air capabilities enables the troopers on the ground to talk directly with the pilots and obtain oversight and weapons capabilities.
“It brings a whole other realm into what we can do and our capabilities as a small element,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Meyer, platoon sergeant for Blue Platoon, C Troop, 5-1 CAV. “The soldiers are adapting and getting it to a point where they are feeling comfortable they have an understanding of what the jets are doing.”
Red Flag-Alaska is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, Joint National Training Capability accredited exercise. Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, first hosted the exercise in 1992 under the name Cope Thunder, it was re-designated RED FLAG-Alaska in 2006. The training is designed to let the participants simulate combat in a realistic threat environment.