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Reservist earns a place in Exercise Red Flag’s nearly five-decade history

A group photo of civilian and military members

U.S. Space Force 2nd Lt. Nick Amerson, 16th Space Control Squadron crew commander, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shane O’Connor, 8th Space Warning Squadron staff instructor, and Capt. Gideon Bernthal, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command G33 future operations space control planner, pose for a portrait, during Red Flag-Nellis 21-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Red Flag-Nellis 21-3 has hosted a new approach, integrating space components into both blue and red forces. These teams included U.S. Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, and Space Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

SCHRIEVER SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. --

A 310th Space Wing Reservist earned a superior performer award and was the first Air Force enlisted member to serve as a non-kinetic duty officer during Exercise Red Flag 21-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, earlier this month.

Staff Sgt. Shane O’Connor, an 8th Space Warning Squadron staff instructor stationed at Buckley Space Force Bae, Colorado, “demonstrated exceptional leadership to our joint Air Force, Army, and Space Force officers and senior enlisted non-kinetics team’s integration as a flight team lead,” said Capt. Jesse Diaz, the 710th Operations Group Weapons Branch chief. The 8th SWS falls under the 710th Operations Group.

A key focus during the three-week exercise was to find out how space, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance can create agile problem solvers when their capabilities are hindered or removed, allowing for battle managers to learn, re-train and execute the mission. It also provides aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment. There are three iterations of Red Flag annually, one U.S. only, one open to FVEY (Five Eyes) participants and one that with an expanded roster of international allies and partners. The training occurs at the Nellis AFB Nevada Test and Training Range, the U.S. Air Force’s premier military training area with more than 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land.

For this exercise, more than 2,200 Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Guardians across 15 squadrons from 17 different states will participate in Red Flag 21-3 July 19 through Aug. 6.

 

Editor's note: Information for this story was complied from RED FLAG: Nellis AFB