The 55th RQS Phase Training Program is a constantly developing program that focuses on the squadron’s readiness to deploy to an austere and contested location and conduct military operations. The fourth iteration of this Phase Training Program was held Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Nov. 19-21, 2019.
What made this iteration particularly noteworthy was that it focused on basic helicopter-vs-helicopter maneuvering against Russian Mi-24 Hind gunships. To that end, two Mi-24s were brought in to give more diverse and realistic simulation for the 55th RQS pilots and aircrews.
A Russian MI-24 Hind gunship flies over Ryan Airfield, Arizona, Nov. 20, 2019. The MI-24 joined the 55th Rescue Squadron to work on basic helicopter maneuvering and combat readiness in the fourth iteration of the 55th RQS phase training program. Photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens, USAF
“This is the first time this training has been done outside of the weapons school at Nellis [AFB],” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kurt Wallin, 55th RQS flight commander. “This is a big step we’ve taken to increase our training capabilities since it is the first time we have trained outside of HH-60G [Pave Hawk] versus HH-60G. This training lets us see the capabilities of other aircraft against our own, and improve our own tactics and procedures.”
“Our mission statement, ‘these things we do, that others may live’, shows that we have to be capable to deploy anywhere in the world against any threat,” said Staff Sgt. Stefen Adams, 55th RQS special mission aviator. “This is why this will be beneficial for us because this is the foundation as we continue to build on our training and broaden our efforts to what may come instead of what we have been focused on the last few years.”
The phase training program continues to develop to match the needs of the global climate of war by pushing and testing the capabilities of the HH-60G and staying current on all qualifications while being able to stay at Davis-Monthan to do it.
“The 55th started this training program to set the expectation for how we are going to do business from now on,” said Wallin. “We want to increase our capabilities going forward to prepare us to fight in a near-peer environment, which is what General Goldfein has directed us to do and to execute the mission he has set for us.”
The 563d RQG, which includes the 55th RQS, is using their phase training program to continue leading the Air Force by testing their limits and pushing past barriers to become more ready and lethal to win the high-end fight.
Article by Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens, 355th Wing Public Affairs / Published January 16, 2020