389th flies in Checkered Flag

By Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 

A pilot and weapons systems officer prepare for takeoff during Checkered Flag 18-1 Nov. 14, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Checkered Flag gave fourth generation and fifth generation aircraft the opportunity to integrate together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Aircraft and Airmen from across the Air Force have been training alongside one another in participation of Checkered Flag 18-1 here at Tyndall Air Force Base.

Checkered Flag acts as an integration between fourth generation and fifth generation aircraft, giving them the ability to work in conjunction with each other. It focuses solely on protecting the United States and its assets from air-to-air threats.This exercise has many benefits such as open airspace which allows pilots to “stretch their legs” and allows them to work along side newer airframes. This airspace expands over the water which is unique to other airspace. “They’re able to put together a bigger airspace for us than is available in the Nellis test and training range which means you can bring together more effectively much larger numbers of aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Mark Nyberg, 389th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations.

F-15E Strike Eagles from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho sit on the flightline of Tyndall AFB, Fla. during Checkered Flag 18-1 Nov. 14, 2017. Checkered Flag is an exercise that specializes in air-to-air combat training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

Staff Sgt. Jamie Morgan, 389th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, inspects an F-15E Strike Eagle before takeoff during Checkered Flag 18-1 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Nov. 6, 2017. Checkered Flag is an exercise that specializes in air-to-air combat training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

Checkered Flag gives participants an opportunity to synchronize with other aircraft in a way that isn’t normally given to them. “I think the most important part is to expose our aircrew to integration primarily with F-22s and F-35s,” Nyberg said.

Fourth generation aircraft getting the opportunity to integrate with fifth generation aircraft is what fully allows our Air Force to be ready for anything that may come our way.

Staff Sgt. Jamie Morgan, 389th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, inspects the cockpit of an F-15E Strike Eagle during Checkered Flag 18-1 Nov. 14, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Checkered Flag is an exercise that specializes in air-to-air combat training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

A pilot preforms a pre-check before takeoff during Checkered Flag 18-1 Nov. 14, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Checkered Flag is an exercise that specializes in air-to-air combat training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong)

“You never know what kind of environment you’ll be flying in to or what will be approaching us,” said Senior Master Sgt. Travis Patterson, 389th Aircraft Maintenance Unit lead production superintendent. “For us, it’s really important to protect our nation’s shores. One example is 9/11 or going into a contested environment where we don’t really know what the threat is, whether its’s air-to-air or air-to-ground but at least we have the capability to fight our way going into a combat scenario.”
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