Red Flag’s Red and Blue Cessnas

Civil Air Patrol Cessna 172s flew low-altitude sorties to provide target identification and engagement training to fighter aircraft during the Red Flag-Alaska exercise that concluded on Sunday. “CAP provides a unique capability by simulating the ‘low and slow flyer,'” said Maj. Robert Lindblom, 353rd Combat Training Squadron exercise team chief at Eielson AFB, Alaska. “They are able to replicate civilian and light utility aircraft much better” than military aircraft are able to, he added in the base’s June 18 release. CAP’s aircraft “reinforce the need for visual identification on unknown aircraft, which prevents civilian and blue-on-blue casualties” during tense combat in mixed airspace, he said. “The objective is to provide these pilots with a realistic situation to find and shoot down targets,” said Jim Gibertoni, CAP’s 9th Composite Operations Squadron pilot. CAP’s Alaska Wing staged from Fairbanks for RF-A 14-2. (Eielson report by SrA. Ashley Nicole Taylor)