Tyndall brings the heat with Checkered Flag 21-1

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stefan Alvarez
  • 325th Fighter wing Public Affairs

Checkered Flag 21-1, a large-scale aerial exercise hosted at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, began Nov. 2 and is scheduled to continue through Nov. 14.

Checkered Flag is held bi-annually and is typically a multi-component and joint service exercise which enables the pilots and aircrew to learn and grow together. It is the Department of Defense’s largest exercise that integrates fourth and fifth generation aircraft to bolster the capabilities of DoD aviators and maintainers.

The 325th Fighter Wing hosts units from within and outside the Air Force, giving them a wide variety of experience and tactics to both share and gain in an environment that simulates war-time operations.

“Checkered Flag is amazing,” said Col. Greg Moseley, 325th Fighter Wing commander. “It is the one of the largest air-to-air exercises that the Air Force holds, and there is no better location to execute training on this scale than at Tyndall.”

Tyndall’s access to the Eastern Gulf of Mexico (EGOMEX) airspace is what sets Checkered Flag apart from other exercises. This invaluable DoD asset spans over 101,000 square miles and a combined 465,000 acres of land from neighboring bases. The pilots can go through the motions of actually deploying munitions and the aircrew can get a feel for making their aircraft truly "combat-ready."

“We have national treasure just to the south of us,” said Moseley. “Our ranges connect to have several hundred miles in all directions to be able to train and execute like we fight. You can take off from this airfield and turn south and you’re right in the airspace ready to train.”

Operating the amount of aircraft active in Checkered Flag, which is around 80 in total, requires a tremendous amount of planning, coordination, and most important of all, safety.

“From the air battle managers to the pilots, we can safely execute the high-end training that we need.” Moseley said. “It’s the professional Airmen that allow us to train the way we fight.”