ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
In order to more effectively accomplish the mission, Airmen must train both on a small and large scale in a variety of different events and locations.
Combat Raider is an annual large force training exercise designed to train various aircrews in high-end, realistic scenarios supporting a full range of operations. This annual training exercise, first established in 2016, was conducted from July 19 to July 23, 2021 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.
As part of its annual training cycle, the 114th Fighter Wing is one of 34 different flying units that participated this year.
“There's three reasons we are here at combat raider,” Lt. Col. Joe Schenkel, 114th Fighter Wing Combat Raider Officer in Charge, stated. “One is to train the pilots in integrated combat employment scenarios with dissimilar aircraft. We’re here with a lot of other assets the Air Force has and it's a rare opportunity for our pilots to train in an integrated environment like this and see how we would actually go to war.”
The second reason, Schenkel explained, is that this provides pilots an opportunity to complete upgrade training as well.
The third reason the 114th Fighter Wing participated is to continue practicing the Agile Combat Employment and Multicapable Airmen concepts.
“Agile Combat Employment is taking a minimal group of people and deploying them to another location to accomplish the mission with the smallest footprint possible,” Schenkel explained.
“The Multicapable Airman concept is where Airmen perform other duties outside their normal duties,” explained Senior Master Sgt. Andy Mager, 114th Fighter Wing Combat Raider Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. “We’re training them to assist the areas that are short on personnel.”
Mager explained that he likes to see these training opportunities push Airmen to step out of their comfort zones by helping others and learning to ask for help themselves