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Eglin Eagles head north for Spring

OVER ALASKA -- Five 60th Fighter Squadron F-15Cs, from the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., soar over the mountains ranges of Alaska during their overseas deployment to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to participate in Red Flag Alaska 07-1. The exercise is to prepare them for their Air Expeditionary Force 9/10 deployment window. Approximately 16 F-15s and more than 240 Airmen traveled to Elmendorf March 28 as part of the deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo)

OVER ALASKA -- Five 60th Fighter Squadron F-15Cs, from the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., soar over the mountains ranges of Alaska during their overseas deployment to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to participate in Red Flag Alaska 07-1. The exercise is to prepare them for their Air Expeditionary Force 9/10 deployment window. Approximately 16 F-15s and more than 240 Airmen traveled to Elmendorf March 28 as part of the deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 33rd Fighter Wing's 60th Fighter Squadron deployed from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., March 29 to participate in Red Flag-Alaska 07-1, scheduled from April 5-21.

Sixteen F-15Cs and 240 pilots and maintainers will join more than 1,100 service members from the United States, France and Australia that are scheduled to gather in The Last Frontier.

Red Flag-Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and coalition forces, provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. These exercises are conducted on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex with air operations flown out of Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force Bases.

This exercise will also hone the skills of the 60th FS, which is preparing to enter its Air Expeditionary Force 9/10 rotation in the fall.

"This is an excellent opportunity for our pilots and maintainers to get in the deployed mindset," said Col. Russ Handy, 33rd FW commander. "It also gives them an entirely different environment to work in, especially coming from Florida."

Air forces for Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 include participants from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, France and Australia. Units are organized as an air expeditionary wing headquartered at Eielson with a subordinate air expeditionary group at Elmendorf.

"Red Flag-Alaska exercises enable aviation units to sharpen their combat skills by flying a minimum of ten simulated combat sorties in a realistic threat environment and provide unique opportunities to help integrate various forces into joint, coalition, and bilateral training from simulated forward operating bases," said Lt. Gen. Chip Utterback, commander of 13th Air Force. "Additionally, the training allows us to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures and improve interoperability."

Following Red Flag-Alaska 07-1, a second period will be conducted May 31- June 15, followed by a third iteration scheduled July 12-27.

The 60th FS is expected to return to Eglin toward the end of April.

(Senior Airman Justin Weaver, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, and Staff Sgt. Bryan Franks, 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this report)

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