Fresno Eagles’ Crucial Debut

California Air National Guard F-15C/Ds are making their Red Flag debut this week at Nellis AFB, Nev., as the last major step toward attaining full operational capability with the jet. “This Red Flag is an important final step in our conversion from the F-16 to the F-15,” 144th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Clay Garrison said in a release. The unit’s goal “is to demonstrate proficiency in the counter air mission by operationally and logistically planning, deploying, executing combat-representative sorties” on top of its home station NORAD alert tasking, unit project officer Maj. Benjamin Leestma added. The Fresno-based 144th FW completed sever?al exercises last year and is flying Red Flag in preparation to deploy as part of a theater security package to Europe following the planned FOC. The unit last deployed with the F-16 in 2001, before converting to the Eagle in 2013. Red Flag 16-1 runs Jan. 25 to Feb. 12.