131st FS Eagles soar into Tyndall

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Delaney Rose
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 104th Fighter Wing, 131st Fighter Squadron from Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, deployed nearly 200 members and seven aircraft to participate in Checkered Flag 18-1 and the concurrently running Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) Combat Archer at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Nov. 6-17.

Checkered Flag is a large-scale exercise that integrates the war-fighting power of both fourth and fifth- generation aircraft. The purpose of the exercise is to provide a training environment that simulates realistic threats in order to improve the proficiency and effectiveness of Airmen and maintain the future of air superiority.

The 104th Fighter Wing brought their Airmen and F-15C Eagles, a fourth generation aircraft, to continue their mission of maintaining highly trained, well-equipped, and motivated military forces in order to provide combat-ready F-15 aircraft and support elements in response to wartime and peacetime tasking’s under state and federal authority. 

“Over a two-week period, our F-15C Eagle's will be flying Large Force Exercise dissimilar combat training missions during Checkered Flag 18-1,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Beckel, 131st Fighter Squadron commander.

The F-15C is a tactical fighter aircraft designed to maneuver with ease and operate under a variety of climate conditions. The ingenuity and power of the F-15C contributes to the Air Force mission of air dominance; however, in order to truly achieve mission success, fourth generation aircraft must maintain operational cohesion with fifth generation aircraft.

“We will be executing Fighter Integration missions with fifth generation F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II aircraft during Defensive Counter Air, Offensive Counter Air-Escort and Cruise Missile Defense missions,” Beckel said. “The complexity of these missions can only be replicated at a FLAG level event of this caliber.” 

Training against conflicts that exist in today’s society plays an integral part in preparing Airmen to respond quickly during real-world operations.

Air Combat Command’s goal is to improve squadron readiness through ready Airmen and ready weapons systems. This task is completed through large-scale exercises such as Checkered Flag, giving Airmen a feel for deployments in a safe and controlled environment.