Next Red Flag-Alaska Gearing Up, 174th FW Viper Swansong

About 1,400 US and foreign military forces will descend upon Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force Bases for the April 16 to May 1 iteration of Red Flag-Alaska (RF-A). French units will join NATO and US forces in this Pacific Air Forces-directed training event that offers offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training, played out over the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range. (For more on RF-A, read Air Force Magazine’s Red Flag Over Alaska) Part of the RF-A mix will be USAF’s new F-22 Raptor, which, according to a new Popular Mechanics article, means the guys in the fourth-generation fighters “die wholesale.” The article zeroes in on airmen from the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing on their final deployment with the wing’s F-16 Vipers, this time in training at Nellis AFB, Nev. The unit shed its first two fighters last fall as it began the transition to an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle mission. (Elmendorf report)