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Red Flag's heartbeat: 1st FW unit arrives at Nellis

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing fly into Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The fifth generation aircraft flew in from Langley Air Force Base, Va., to participate in the three-week Red Flag 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing fly into Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The fifth generation aircraft flew in from Langley Air Force Base, Va., to participate in the three-week Red Flag 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare to taxi F-22 Raptor at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The aircraft assigned to  Langley Air Force Base, Va.'s, 1st Fighter Wing will conduct air combat training sorties with various aircraft including the F-35 Lightning II during Red Flag 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare to taxi F-22 Raptor at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The aircraft assigned to Langley Air Force Base, Va.'s, 1st Fighter Wing will conduct air combat training sorties with various aircraft including the F-35 Lightning II during Red Flag 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia conduct post flight checks on  F-22 Raptors at Nellis AFB, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The 27th Fighter Squadron’s aircraft arrived to participate in Red Flag 17-1, an exercise held four times a year that provides aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in a safe training environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia conduct post flight checks on F-22 Raptors at Nellis AFB, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The 27th Fighter Squadron’s aircraft arrived to participate in Red Flag 17-1, an exercise held four times a year that provides aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in a safe training environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Col. Peter Fesler, 1st Fighter Wing commander, arrives to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017, to participate in Red Flag 17-1. Red Flag is the U.S. Air Force's premier joint and allied force air-to-air combat training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Col. Peter Fesler, 1st Fighter Wing commander, arrives to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017, to participate in Red Flag 17-1. Red Flag is the U.S. Air Force's premier joint and allied force air-to-air combat training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Aujero, 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, inspects the canopy of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor after landing to participate in Red Flag 17-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017.  Inspecting the canopy is a safety measure conducted post flight to ensure that the lamination is intact. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Aujero, 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, inspects the canopy of a U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor after landing to participate in Red Flag 17-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. Inspecting the canopy is a safety measure conducted post flight to ensure that the lamination is intact. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conduct maintenance checks on an F-22 Raptors from the 1st Fighter Wing participating in Red Flag 17-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. Raptor teams started participating in Red Flag in 2007 and have since proven themselves as a critical component of both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conduct maintenance checks on an F-22 Raptors from the 1st Fighter Wing participating in Red Flag 17-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. Raptor teams started participating in Red Flag in 2007 and have since proven themselves as a critical component of both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Aujero, 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, Langley Air Force Base, Va., notes an F-22 Raptors flight data on aircraft forms at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The 27th AMU is a unit within the 1st Fighter Wing participating in Red Flag 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Aujero, 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, Langley Air Force Base, Va., notes an F-22 Raptors flight data on aircraft forms at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 18, 2017. The 27th AMU is a unit within the 1st Fighter Wing participating in Red Flag 17-1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

The 1st Fighter Wing’s air crew and support members out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, arrived at Nellis AFB Jan.17 and 18 to participate in Red Flag 17-1 as the exercise’s core unit.

Red Flag, a three-week combat training exercise involving U.S. and allied forces’ air, space and cyber domains, kicked off January 22 on a simulated battlefield over the skies of the Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas. 

Throughout the training exercise, Airmen support their units in defeating aggressors including realistic threat systems and opposing enemy forces, providing all domains the ability to train collectively for contingencies in a safe environment to increase the combat capabilities for any future combat situation.

“This year, we are the core unit, meaning we are the heartbeat for Red Flag,” said Capt. Matthew Siverio, Red Flag 17-1 core unit project officer. "Each member [who] is attached to the core unit will utilize their expertise to match the expectations of the Red Flag Air Expeditionary Wing commander to ultimately make this the most successful Red Flag we can."

According to Master Sgt. Erick Matos, Red Flag 17-1 superintendent, the 1st FW has the added challenge of not only conducting its own air-to-air and cyber mission taskings but also supporting Red Flag’s U.S. and allied forces as the exercise's core unit.

“We are ensuring over 30 different units and 3,000 individuals form not only the U.S. but partner nations like the United Kingdom and Australia as well as our sister services have all the resources they need and require to learn and execute the best way of employing a combined large force package in a live-fly environment,” Matos explained.

Siverio anticipates that facilitating successful countering of air, space and cyber threats by all participating units will take a team effort lead by America’s first team -- the 1st FW.

“We're here as a core unit to help all other participating units by lending our expertise and ensuring they have all the necessary resources they need to meet the objectives set out by Red Flag staff and their respective units,” said Siverio, adding that such groundwork can range from augmenting core members to fill duty gaps and tasking other to units to achieve exercise needs.

For Matos, succeeding as the core unit is simple -- ensure all duty requirements are met and support wherever help is needed.

“We will overcome challenges merely by having the correct and experienced core personnel assigned to each Air Force Specialty Code required,” Matos said. “This will ensure that all personnel have all necessary assets and support in order to achieve the commander’s mission intent.”

With three weeks of intensive training left to go, Red Flag veterans and first timers will have the 1st FW to rely on and keep the heart of Red Flag special tactical operations moving forward faster.