552 ACW in control at Red Flag 23-3 Published Aug. 10, 2023 By Kimberly Woodruff 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Members of the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron, 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base Oklahoma, participated in Red Flag 23-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, July 17- August 4, 2023. Approximately 2,000 participants from Air Force, Space Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air National Guard units were welcomed to Nellis AFB. Red Flag 23-3 is unique in that the training concentrated on defensive counter air, offensive counter air suppression of enemy air defenses and offensive counter air-air interdiction while providing more complex target areas, camouflage and concealment techniques in multiple spectrums, and introduce realistic scenarios forcing reattacks in accordance with acceptable levels of risk as it concentrates on the Indo-Pacific Command. “Red Flag offers the most unique and realistic training for our warfighters,” said Col Jason Zemler, commander of the 552nd Operations Group. “We must be proficient at generating, employing, recovering and sustaining our force with a cadre of ready forces to meet national threats and Red Flag allows crews to train in a realistic, safe and controlled environment.” Red Flag 23-3 aligns with the National Defense Strategy focusing on training joint force operations and command and control while maximizing collaboration and synergy among joint and interagency partners, making our nation’s force more lethal. Participants focused on air dominance and anticipating the adversary as well as expanding and strengthening partnerships. Zemler added, “Training at Red Flag helps the warfighters practice the capabilities, build confidence under fire that will help them maintain our competitive advantage.” The Department of Defense prioritizes the People’s Republic of China as our number one pacing challenge. The force also trains to respond to and effectively deter nation-state threats emanating from Russia, Iran and North Korea, and transnational and non-state actor threats from violent extremist organizations such as those operating in the Middle East, Africa and South and Central Asia. “Training prioritizes first timer’s combat missions, mission commander upgrades and flag unique experiences that contribute most to readiness and partnering,” said Col. Eric Winterbottom, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander. “Red Flag’s enduring principles are why it has remained the Air Force’s premier large-force exercise for the last 48 years. “It shapes our priorities which are the same for each exercise; safety, realism and relevance.” Red Flag combat training exercises provide experience for the warfighter in multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment. This iteration occurred in conjunction with the U.S. Navy’s Composite Training Unit Exercise with training locations in both Nevada and Southern California.