B-2 integration enhanced at Red Flag

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Integration was the key word for all Airmen -- foreign, domestic and of sister services -- during Red Flag 15-1. This idea was a particularly fundamental lesson to the men and women who support and maintain the B-2 Spirit from the 393rd Bomb Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

"We don't get an opportunity very often to integrate," said Lt. Col. Bradley Cochran, 393rd BS commander. "Many people don't know and understand what our capabilities are or what we can do for a combatant commander."

The integration theme resonates from Airmen throughout the Red Flag exercise from the strategic to operational and tactical levels.

"We are a Global Strike Command asset that normally flies to a target and back to home station," said Capt. Michael Ramamurthy, 393rd BS B-2 trainer pilot. "Planning is done long distance. At Red Flag, we can walk down the hall, showcase our capabilities and understand how we integrate into the big picture to meet the mission objectives."

Being able to interact in person with other units helps not only a single unit but can allow them to showcase their abilities to others. Integrating with other units, foreign and sister services, strengthens military-to-military relationships and enhances interoperability of forces.

"Red Flag allows us to give other assets low-observable integration experience they may not have gotten until combat," said Ramamurthy. "It also gives us a better perspective on what the other assets that fight with us are dealing with, particularly their strengths and weaknesses,"

Those skills learned in large-scale exercises such as Red Flag not only allow integration to U.S. partners but international ones.

"We are able to work with other aircraft and our coalition partners in order to teach them what the B-2 can do, which helps us integrate more effectively into any future combat operation," said Cochran.

Integration is not only a key theme for pilots and commanders but it hit the maintainers as well.

"We get to learn from specialists we don't normally see at home station," said Airman 1st Class Michael Espinosa 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "We get to show other career fields how to marshal aircraft, help refuel, launch and recover aircraft, and we get to see more teamwork."

The lessons learned from Red Flags are constantly implemented in real-world operations.

"Red Flag has enabled us to integrate with other U.S. and coalition forces to complete operations such as Odyssey Dawn in Libya where we integrated with U.S. Navy and other Air Force assets," said Cochran. "Integration is imperative for training to be able to prepare yourself for combat. If you can get it right in training, you can do it for real."