Kentucky civil engineers train at Silver Flag exercise

Story by Master Sgt. Phil Speck, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs 

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Troops from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron join with other Airmen to anchor a Mobile Aircraft Arresting System at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., on Sept 16, 2013. The Kentucky Air Guardsmen were participating in Silver Flag, a week-long exercise to train and test the skills of civil engineers at a bare-base location in a simulated wartime environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dave Soldat)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Air National Guardsmen of the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron deployed to a secluded bare base location to establish and maintain a base during a wartime mission exercise known as Silver Flag.

During the week long exercise, Sept. 13-21, the 26 Airmen joined over 246 Active Duty, Reserve and Guardsmen at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. This was the biggest class ever for Silver Flag said Lt. Col. Keith McCallie, Deputy Base Civil Engineer for the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, and student commander for Silver Flag.

“This was a well worth learning experience,” McCallie said. “a total force integration, a first that I’ve ever seen at Silver Flag.”

Silver Flag is training for all civil engineering (CE) personnel, including command and control, and specialized craftsmen training. This training is mandatory for civil engineers every 40 months. The exercise challenged each craft area in CE to perform under a wartime mission tasking, including emergency management, utilities, structures, heating ventilation and air conditioning, heavy equipment, electrical, power protection, site development, CE Operations, and fire.  The Command and Control (C2) element from the 123rd CES attended the exercise.

Other units from other bases such as Personnel, Services, Communications, and Medical personnel participated in the exercise as well.

Tasks that had to be handled during the war games included purifying water, getting electrical generators online and power distribution, airfield lighting, erecting tent cities, rapid runway repair, installation of mobile aircraft arresting system and bare base site layout, just to name a few.

The units also showed they could pre-stage vehicles and conduct convoy operations with precision. They also defended assets by preventing simulated host-nation saboteurs from disrupting power distribution.

The exercise also allows Airmen access to specialized equipment they normally don’t get to work with back at their home station units, as well as a test bed for new and improved equipment coming through the Air Force. At the Silver Flag location, a new power distribution system was being field tested which consisted of new digital design as compared to an old aging analog system.

“This gives the Airmen a look at the new cutting edge technology, which is a benefit to troops, and gives the command element exposure to new technology.” McCallie said.

During the exercise the Cadre commented on the positive attitudes of everyone, and integration of the Air Force Active Duty, Reserves and Guard.

“Everyone meshed very well, no fights or feuding between the services, and it was eye opening to see how everyone was so enthusiastic.” McCallie added. “Morale was not an issue at this Silver Flag, everyone embraced this training with enthusiasm and the go-get attitude.”

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