COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Soldiers from 1st Space Brigade recently participated in Red Flag 22-01 – one of the military’s premier exercises conducted by the United States Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Two noncommissioned officers from Detachment 5, 4th Space Company, and two Space and Missile Defense Command civilian contractors traveled to Nellis AFB for the three-week exercise. Supporting them and operations from afar were Soldiers from Crew 1, Det. 3, also of 4th Space Co., from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Captain Marlon Carpio, commander of Det. 3, 4th Space Co., said Soldiers from both detachments provided planning and integration of non-kinetic effects into pilot’s live-fly operations during the exercise, as well as aiding airmen with overall space capabilities.
“My unit provided space support in a closed-loop environment where our effects were transported via satellite, so their command and control can see what space operations we were bringing to the exercise,” Carpio said. “When the planes were in the air, we synchronized the timing and tempo of our operations to correspond with day-to-day missions.”
Sergeant Onysha Paxton, a signals collection analyst of Det. 5, 4th Space Co., played the role of a space liaison NCO while at Nellis, and assisted in mission planning of space control operations. It was her first mass exercise dealing with joint services.
“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Paxton said. “Once I realized the big picture when I got to Nellis, I thought it was all really amazing. Constant air traffic, working with NATO partners and seeing all the planning and logistics that goes into an exercise like that was an eye-opener.”
As well as working with NATO partners, the crews linked up with U.S. Space Force and coordinated operations with them.
Captain Justus Eckstrom, Crew 1, Det. 3, officer in charge, said the crews successfully synchronized joint space capabilities from the Army and Space Force with the non-kinetics duty officer for the exercise.
“It was high-speed ops tempo and a lot of fun,” Eckstrom said of the exercise. “Working with Space Force and getting familiarized with their equipment and methods was a great experience for all of us.”
Air Force Capt. Kaylee Taylor, chief of Non-Kinetic Integration at the 414th Combat Training Squadron at Nellis AFB, said Army space operations have assisted the last three years with the squadron’s mission during Red Flag.
“In an exercise like Red Flag, Army space Soldiers support our pilots by providing non-kinetic effects,” Taylor said. “Which has a positive impact on them, as they can be best prepared to fight and win in combat operations. Both the Air Force and Army benefit from this relationship, and we’d love to have the Soldiers from 1st Space Brigade back next year.”
Major Steven Richards, commander of 4th Space Co., said the teams performed superbly.
“The problem sets the crews faced and solved during the exercise were significantly more difficult and much more dynamic than what they typically encounter during certification and other training environments we can replicate,” Richards said. “The crew is now exceptionally prepared for their upcoming deployment to CENTCOM (U.S. Army Central Command).
Carpio was equally pleased with his crews’ performance and summed up their mission.
“Bottom line – our systems greatly affected the efficiency of Air Force operations during the exercise by enabling freedom of movement for the fast movers in the air to deliver their munitions on target, on time, and in a safe manner,” he said.