Checkered Flag 22-1 wraps up at Tyndall AFB

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A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, flies over the Gulf of Mexico, Nov. 8, 2021. Personnel and aircraft from the 79th FS traveled to Florida to participate in Checkered Flag 22-1, a large-force aerial exercise held at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, which fosters readiness and interoperability through the incorporation of fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft during air-to-air combat training. The 22-1 iteration of the exercise was held November 8-19, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Betty R. Chevalier)


By Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves

325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) —  

Airmen, Sailors and Department of Defense contractors and civilians participated in exercise Checkered Flag 22-1 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Nov. 8-19.

Checkered Flag, hosted by the 325th Fighter Wing, is one of the DoD’s largest air-to-air exercises. It serves to integrate fourth and fifth-generation aircraft to train and test enhanced mobility, pre-deployment qualifications, and rapid response employment capabilities of pilots and aircrew.

“This iteration of Checkered Flag is different because the 325th Fighter Wing actually owns the exercise,” said Lt. Col. Sean Fazande, Checkered Flag 22-1 exercise director. “We actually have every agency on base involved to execute this mission; that’s upwards of 15 agencies coming together, coordinating and making the exercise happen.”

The wing was responsible for maintaining and executing predetermined mission goals and learning objectives identified by the Air Combat Command commander’s intent to train a dedicated, highly-effective force ready worldwide for rapid response. This is known as an Immediate Response Force defense posture.

“We hone down exactly what we are going to execute,” Fazande said. “We also have players from Jacksonville and Eglin (AFB) and other locations that [participated], giving us a very robust exercise.”

Integration operations focused on building relationships and strengthening partnerships with the U.S. Navy, as well as North American Aerospace Defense Command partners stationed at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

Additional units that participated included the 90th Fighter Squadron assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska and the 79th FS stationed at Shaw AFB, South Carolina.

More than 93 aircraft and 12 squadrons from across the country brought their respective fighters, tankers, electronic and communication warfare skills, and command and control aircraft teams to the playing field.

“[We] allow our pilots to get out there and work together and build unit cohesion,” Fazande said. “That unit cohesion is very key to what Checkered Flag is all about; bringing them down here, working together, mission planning together, getting out into the airspace and knowing how and when [to] execute certain tactics.”

A U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, performs post-flight checks after landing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Nov. 1, 2021, for Checkered Flag 22-1. Checkered Flag is a large-force aerial exercise held at Tyndall which fosters readiness and interoperability through the incorporation of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft during air-to-air combat training. The 22-1 iteration of the exercise was held November 8-19, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany Price)