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Tyndall Mission Defense Team conducts first exercise

325th Fighter Wing

The 325th Communications Squadron Mission Defense Team members stand for a photo at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., June 13, 2018. The MDT is responsible for mission assurance at the base-level and focuses on defensive cyber operations of Air Force weapons systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The 325th Communications Squadron Mission Defense Team participated in their first exercise since becoming the first operational MDT at Tyndall AFB June 11-15, 2018.

The MDT is responsible for mission assurance at the base-level and focuses on defensive cyber operations of Air Force weapons systems.

“The Mission Defense Team has never been a part of these exercises in the past,” said Senior Master Sgt. Sam Prichard, 325th CS cyber defense flight chief. “Since we’re evolving our mission assurance framework, we wanted to take this opportunity to join the exercise and test our own processes under similar, albeit cyberspace defense related conditions.” 

The focus of the exercise was to test the ability of the 325th Fighter Wing to generate aircraft sorties in a simulated deployed environment. As Tyndall is the largest contingency of F-22 Raptors in the world, the MDT’s mission is vital to maintaining the aircrafts’ weapons system sustainability, lethality and reliability.

“Since this is the first actual exercise for some of the MDT Airmen, we expect some hiccups, but that’s what we want to see,” Prichard said. “The intent is to identify areas for improvement and capture some lessons learned so we can further strengthen our defensive posture on the F-22 mission terrain.”

The exercise allowed the MDT to practice how they play in a safe and structured environment.

“Exercises like these are a good learning curve for everyone,” said Staff Sgt. Ashley Thompson, 325th CS MDT supervisor. “We learned how to coordinate and work with other units to accomplish our mission through training we received.”

Throughout the learning process, leadership touted their Airmen on their capability to adapt and be flexible in ever-changing mission requirements.

“I’m really proud of the team,” Prichard said. “They did a great job and I couldn’t be more excited of what we will accomplish in the future.”

As the exercise comes to a close, the facilitators and moderators are certain this new section will adhere to the Air Force Core Value of Excellence as this program evolves and ensures not only Air Dominance, but also Cyber Dominance.

“Hopefully what we are doing here is shared across MDT’s in the Air Force,” Prichard added. “Our team wants to be the stepping stone for procedures, so when a unit comes across a problem, they have a streamlined process to get it resolved.”