#Reviewing The Air Force Way of War

Making the Machine Human

A Story of Change

A U.S. Air Force Republic F-105D Thunderchief trailing fire and smoke just after interception by an SA-2 missile on February 14, 1968. The SA-2 did not actually hit the aircraft — instead the warhead was detonated by a command from the tracking radar or by a proximity fuse in the missile when it neared the target, throwing deadly fragments over a wide area. The pilot, Captain Robert Malcolm Elliot, USAF (1929–1968), was killed. His body was not recovered until 1998. (Wikimedia Commons)

Laslie’s best work is connecting the failures of Vietnam to the development of designed operational capability statements, the “building block approach” to training, and the creation of large, realistic exercises such as Red Flag.

For 40 years, Red Flag has been training world class pilots, fostering alliances, and enabling forces to be ready to fight on a moment’s notice. From Vietnam to present day as Red Flag looks back on 40 years of readiness. (Nellis Television / YouTube)
(L) Colonel Richard “Moody” Suter, USAF; (R) General William Wallace Momyer, USAF
(L) General Robert J. Dixon, USAF; (R) General Wilbur “Bill” Creech, USAF

…the lessons learned from Red Flag changed the way the USAF conducted warfare, blending tactical and “strategic” forces, and led to the nation’s military successes of the last thirty years…

Interviews with pilots who have participated in Red Flag give you a first hand look into this advanced training exercise, held annually at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. (Via GungHo Videos/YouTube)

The Good, the Bad, and the Important

(U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Christian P. Hodge)
USAF aircraft of the 4th Fighter Wing (F-16, F-15C and F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires, set by the retreating Iraqi army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wikimedia Commons)

A Final Word

A February 16, 2006 mass briefing on activities of the day for personnel taking part in Exercise Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. (Royal Australian Air Force photo)
Capt.Taylor Blevins sits in the mass briefing room with approximately 50 other U.S. and allied nation pilots July 16 at Red Flag 09–4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Mass briefings can last more than an hour and provide pilots with vital information for their simulated combat scenarios. Captain Blevins is assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

Scott Gunn is a graduate of the USAF’s Strategic Air and Space Studies program as well as Harvard University. He is currently a student instructor pilot.

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