by Senior Airman Kate Vaughn
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/15/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Members
of the 425th Fighter Squadron recently participated in Maple Flag, a
Canadian directed exercise conducted annually that provides training for
warfighters in large-force employment of 50 aircraft at a time.
The exercise, which took place at Cold Lake, Canada, was designed to
give real-world experience to participants and promote the ability of
allied nations to work together. Ten nations, including Belgium, Germany
and the Netherlands, came together to practice combat tactics in an
international training environment.
The opportunity to work with allied nations was a great experience, said
Maj. Nicholas Holmes, 425th FS assistant director of operations.
"Working with coalition partners with a common goal in mind was an
invaluable experience," he said. "We can simulate this type of practice
at home, but this type of scenario adds the true complexity of
According to the Royal Canadian Air Force website, "Exercise Maple Flag
is a Canadian variation of the U.S. Air Force Red Flag Exercise, held
several times a year at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada."
The RCAF website also provides insight as to how Maple Flag came to be.
"Both exercises were developed in response to a Vietnam War finding that
90 percent of aircraft losses took place during the first ten combat
Capt. Kwan Quek, 425th Fighter Squadron fighter weapons instructor,
attended the exercise and said it falls perfectly in line with the 425th
FS mission statement.
"Our mission statement is to conduct high-end training for the Republic
of Singapore air force," Quek said. "While benchmarking against the best
in the world we were able to learn from others while fulfilling our
Quek also said knowledge learned here at Luke contributed to the success of the RSAF in the exercise.
"Due to training here at Luke, from mission planning to technical
execution, we were able to participate at maximum capacity," Quek said.
It wasn't only those who participated in the actual exercise that made the event possible.
"I am very proud of the 425th as a whole. They safely moved 122
personnel, 21 pallets of equipment and completed 154 sorties without a
hitch," Holmes said. "I would also like to extend a huge thank you to
the 56th Operations Support Squadron and 56th Security Forces Squadron
for working extra hours and weekends to help us conclude our exercise
when the airfield is normally closed."
Multiple resources, including maintenance and ground forces were vital to making Maple Flag possible, Quek said.
"It's a realistic training scenario not just for our pilots but for our
maintainers as well," he said. "Thanks to their efforts, every single
one of our jets got off the ground successfully."
Maple Flag utilized the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, which consists of
4,478 square miles of land, and is the only tactical bombing range in