Airmen prepare for upcoming deployment to Middle East

Airmen prepare for upcoming deployment to Middle East

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Roughly 150 Airmen from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi took part in a two week training exercise in Little Rock, Ark.

Officials say the exercise known as Green Flag is the best way to prepare for an upcoming deployment overseas.

"Just glad to be home from a two week exercise. Looking forward to a little bit of rest," said Major Brian Horton, commander of the 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

For Horton, the training is crucial to an upcoming deployment in the Middle East.

"We get away from home station, away from our comfort level. Focus on generating the airplanes and basically just making sure that the pilots in the front end have healthy airplane so that they can fulfill their missions as well," said Horton.

The exercise combined multiple squadrons including active duty and reservists, who all took part in a simulated combat environment.

"There's a lot of folks in the squadron who haven't deployed in a while, and then there's a lot of folks who have never deployed. So putting them in this environment, where we're putting the stress on them that their gonna feel in combat, is great," said Lt. Col. Stuart Rubio, commander of the 815th Airlift Squadron. "They were able to show what they've learned so far, and then we can learn what else we need to work on in preparation of deployment."

In addition to the two week exercise, the airmen also do flying training weekly, and plan on doing more training exercises before the deployment.

Their deployment is scheduled for 2018.

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