Liberty’s Red Flag

MC-12 Liberty reconnaissance aircraft are participating for the first time in a Red Flag exercise—iteration RF 12-3 that runs through Friday at Nellis AFB, Nev.—supporting air-to-ground scenarios alongside other US and allied aircraft. The 489th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale AFB, Calif., stood up with the MC-12 last August, less than two years after the aircraft type entered service. “Being in Red Flag not only validates the capability we provide, but enables us to train and integrate with a huge list of other weapon systems,” said Lt. Col. Harlie Bodine, 489th RS commander. “Being at Red Flag is critical” for Liberty aircrews, some of which will be “in combat in 14 days,” he added. MC-12 crews are trained to pursue elusive high-value targets such as insurgent kingpins. At Nellis, said, Bodine, crews “exercise and work with every piece . . . before the bullets start flying.” (Nellis report by 1st Lt. Ken Lustig)