Airmen from across the world participate in Silver Flag

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn Rich
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Beyond the flight line, along a winding road by the south perimeter of the base, smoke rises over the brim of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe training area. The sounds of sledge hammers on tent posts and raised voices fill the air, "Come on guys, let's do this!"

Airmen from all around the world came together here for a training event known as Silver Flag.

Silver Flag is a weeklong course, where Airmen from several different career specialties work together to learn how to build and sustain a base in a contingency environment consisting of five day's academic training, followed by a day of practical application.

"The environment the students encounter simulates a medium threat location that allows their leadership to guide every move from convoys to redeployment," said Master Sgt. Lamont Hall, 435th Construction and Training Squadron Heavy Repair Contingency Training Section chief.

Airmen consisting of civil engineers, communications, force support and finance personnel demonstrate their comprehension of the information they have been taught in the classroom by participating in various scenarios requiring the application of these skills.

"Some of the scenarios involved beddown initiatives, force protection, airfield repair, services operations and fire control," said Sergeant Hall.

Silver Flag is not only about training the Airmen, getting their hands dirty with tent construction, water purification and damage repair, but is also a place to train those who will manage and lead these operations.

"We have anywhere from airman basic all the way up to lieutenant colonel," said Staff Sgt. Birgir Hrafnsson, 435th Construction and Training Squadron water and fuels systems maintenance specialist. "We teach [the students] academically how to operate each piece of equipment specific to their Air Force Specialty Code, and then on exercise day we also test their leadership on how well they can organize and lead the crafts on the overall mission."

What makes this Silver Flag event more unique than others held throughout the year is that officers from the Romanian air force were invited to observe the training.

"It is good for our allies to see our capabilities first hand, mainly from a management perspective," said Sergeant Hall. "They see what we do from scratch so they get a real idea of everything that goes into this."

The Romanian air force officers took an observation roll throughout the week of training, with the U.S. Airmen learning firsthand what it takes to conduct an operation like this.

"This is not the first time we have worked together [with the U.S.] but after seeing this, we are having a chance to see the possibilities," said Romanian air force 2nd Lt. Octavian Rosu, logistics, 71st Air Base, Romania. "The training is pretty realistic and everything they are doing is exactly according to plan. They are very professional."

The Romanians have actively participated in Iraq and Afghanistan, and remain a strong partner in these operations. Training together illustrates the desire of each country to maintain strong bonds and continue building upon their current foundation.

"It is easy to work together because we have some experience and we combine our capabilities with U.S. Forces," said Romanian air force Lt. Col. Vasila Apostu, chief of logistics, 95th Air Base, Romania. "It is very useful for us to be here for this training because we learn about the planning, and of course we are seeing the execution of that planning unfold right here."

As the dust settled at the close of another day, the sentiment throughout the training area from both the U.S. Airmen and Romanian officers was the same. The last Silver Flag of the year was a success.

"I think that it is a great thing. We are helping them help us in the long term. It is no longer the small picture of just us, or just the U.S. Air Force. It is the big picture of us and our allies worldwide," said Sergeant Hrafnsson.