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Olympic Flag exercise evaluates missileers’ abilities


F.E. Warren Air Force Base hosted the inaugural Olympic Flag Exercise from Sept. 10 - 14, 2017. This exercise brought 17 Airmen from the three missile wings to F.E. Warren, to test their knowledge and evaluate their skills on realistic war time scenarios.

The exercise was built to give the Airmen who participate a look at how they perform their jobs in a real time exercise and in what areas they can improve.

“This exercise helped provide a force-wide look into how we conduct day-to-day operations,” said Capt. Bryce Acres, 20th Air Force future operations and programs chief. “The exercise also provided insight into areas we can improve and areas where we are excelling in.”

Unlike other exercises the missile wings participate in, Olympic Flag is focused on evaluating all three wings and finding what works best overall and implementing those parts into the other wings’ procedures.

“My role as an instructor is to bring up the best and worst parts that I noticed during the exercise,” said Capt. Marian Dinkha, 740th Missile Squadron instructor, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. “At the end of each ride the participants gather and go through a final debrief, and it is my job to make sure they hit all the key points during that.”

The debriefings at the end will help the participants go home and implement what works and eliminate the parts that aren’t as efficient.

For this flag exercise, only the operations groups were being evaluated. Future Olympic Flag plans will include the mission support groups, maintenance groups and security forces groups to evaluate all aspects of missile field operations.

“I'm thrilled with the results we've received, and now we will begin to implement the best practices learned during the final debrief,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 20th Air Force commander. “The ultimate goal is to create a capstone exercise that integrates operations, maintenance, security forces and support Airmen so the entire ICBM enterprise can continually improve in every aspect of the mission."

The best aspects of each wing and the lessons they learned will be shared throughout the ICBM force community making the event a force multiplier, Acres added.

"This event marks a significant milestone for 20th Air Force as we continue to push the envelope and drive innovation across the nuclear enterprise," said Cotton. “Our allies and adversaries alike can rest assured that we have the most skilled, professional and committed men and women leading the front lines of the ICBM mission.”