Silver Flag exercise hones airmen’s skills for all phases of deployment
July 23, 2004
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Airmen from all U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases are getting a refresher course in being expeditionary this week at the Silver Flag exercise on Ramstein.
About 200 airmen, including some from several Air National Guard and Reserve units from the United States, are participating in the 10-day exercise to prepare for all phases of deployment, said Senior Master Sgt. Les Jones of Ramstein’s 435th Construction and Training Squadron.
The exercise started in 1979 at Ramstein to train civil engineers, but it has evolved to include dozens of Air Force specialties, including services, medical units, security forces and communications airmen. Silver Flag is held six to eight times a year, usually for airmen set to deploy in the coming months, Jones said.
For the second time, this exercise includes a segment called the Expeditionary Leadership Program. The program trains airmen in the ranks of technical sergeant to major in the leadership skills they need to handle deployed troops, said Col. Charles Weiss, commander of the 38th Combat Support Center.
“The training helps them handle what they could face before they deploy, while they are deployed and after they come home,” Weiss said. Troops’ medical problems, marriage issues, equipment transport and building a tent city downrange are a few of the subjects covered, he said.
On Wednesday, airmen were building a tent city near Ramstein’s flight line, where they will live until Saturday. They’ll set up communications, a dining facility and emergency response teams, among other things.
“Everybody’s got a piece of the puzzle,” said Master Sgt. Tim Penwell of the 264th Combat Communications Squadron, an Air National Guard unit based in Chicago.