ST. GEORGE – Washington County residents have been experiencing loud booms and shaking homes since Monday and wondered what was happening – the U.S. Air Force has the answer.
Capt. Jessica Martin, a public relations officer for Nellis Air Force Base, confirmed that the base was taking part in Red Flag, a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies.
Red Flag began on Monday, Jan. 23, and will continue to Feb. 3. Until then, southern Utah residents may continue to experience incidents involving loud disturbances, and in some cases, shaken homes.
While the thunderous sounds and shaking created by exercise will cease in less than two weeks, Capt. Martin added that Red Flag is held up to four times a year.
The exercise is hosted north of Las Vegas on the Nevada Test and Training Range – the U.S. Air Force’s premier military training area with more than 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land. With 1,900 possible targets, realistic threat systems and an opposing enemy force that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world, Nellis and the NTTR are the home of a “peacetime battlefield,” providing combat air forces with the ability to train to fight together, survive together and win together.
The 414th Combat Training Squadron is responsible for executing Red Flag and the exercise is just one of a series of advanced training programs administered at Nellis and on the NTTR by organizations assigned to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center.
Throughout the Red Flag exercise, more than 90 aircraft are scheduled to depart Nellis twice a day, around noon and again around 6 p.m. Aircraft may remain in the air for up to four hours. The flying times are scheduled to accommodate the other flying missions at Nellis and provide Red Flag participants with valuable training in planning and executing a wide-variety of combat missions.
The exercise will include units from Nevada, Colorado, South Dakota, Louisiana, Utah, California, Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Massachusetts and Oklahoma flying aircraft including the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, E-3 Sentry, B-1 Lancer, and KC-135 Stratotanker.
In addition to U.S. aircraft, the Saudi Royal Air Force and the Republic of Korea will participate with their nations’ F-15 aircraft.
For more information about Red Flag, call the Nellis Public Affairs Office at (702) 652-2750 or go to http://www.nellis.af.mil/redflag-nellis/. \
Copyright 2012 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.