389th flies in Checkered Flag

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
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.

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.

“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.”