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NEWS | May 17, 2024

Maryland Air Guard Participates in Desert Flag 2024

By Tech. Sgt. Mercedee Wilds, United States Air Forces Central

UNDISCLOSED LOCATION - U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles from the 335th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina and U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 104th Fighter Squadron, assigned to the Maryland Air National Guard, and support personnel participated in Desert Flag 2024.

They joined multinational and regional partners within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility for the three-week exercise hosted by the United Arab Emirates April 21 to May 10.

Desert Flag provided strategic training for 10 countries and 12 airframes to build upon a cohesive fighting force in the defense of the Arabian Peninsula. Participating countries included the United States, France, Germany, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

An A-10 pilot with the 104th FS said the countries came together at Desert Flag for the same purpose.

“We are all wanting to perfect our craft and the tactical execution of our mission sets,” said the A-10 pilot. “Being able to coordinate and work closely together to work towards that helps build the relationships that are required to operate effectively as a coalition.”

Desert Flag is a Red Flag-style exercise that enabled the participating countries to execute some of their primary mission sets, including close air support, forward air control and combat search and rescue.

“We are all experiencing more confidence in our coalition partners by seeing how tactically proficient they are and knowing that if we were in a real-world, real-time contingency type scenario, we would be able to effectively integrate,” said the A-10 pilot.

For nine years, Desert Flag has provided critical touch points for multinational regional partners at the tactical, operational and strategic levels to operate as a cohesive fighting force.



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