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Checkered Flag 18-2 takes to the skies at Tyndall

325th Fighter Wing

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., travels down the Tyndall flightline July 11, 2018. Tyndall Raptors participated in Checkered Flag 18-2, a large-scale aerial exercise designed to integrate fourth and fifth-generation airframes to enhance the capabilities of Airmen while providing training to rapidly respond to current, real-world conflicts and preparing for the future of air superiority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

325th Fighter Wing

A U.S. Air Force 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron QF-16 Aerial Target travels down the flightline at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., July 11, 2018. Tyndall’s 82nd Aerial Target Squadron fulfills a Title 10 U.S. Code requirement and is responsible for ensuring the safe and effective testing of various weapon systems through the use of QF-16, full-scale aerial targets capable of both manned and unmanned flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

325th Fighter Wing

U.S. Navy Airman Cody Busha with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 stands beside an E-2C Hawkeye at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., July 11, 2018. VAW-123’s mission is to provide flexible, on-scene carrier airborne command and control for joint and combined forces worldwide in order to ensure stability, build on relationships with allies and partners, provide nation leaders with options in times of crisis, and if necessary, win conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

325th Fighter Wing

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., travels down the flightline at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., July 11, 2018. The Raptors were a part of Checkered Flag 18-2, a large-scale aerial exercise designed to integrate fourth and fifth-generation airframes to enhance the capabilities of Airmen while providing training to rapidly respond to current, real-world conflicts and preparing for the future of air superiority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

325th Fighter Wing

U.S. Navy sailors from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron VAW-123 stand in front of an E-2C Hawkeye on the flightline at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., July 11, 2018. VAW-123 provides flexible, on-scene carrier airborne command and control for joint and combined forces worldwide in order to ensure stability, build on relationships with allies and partners, provide Nation leaders with options in times of crisis, and if necessary, win conflicts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Checkered Flag 18-2, a large force exercise, kicked off at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, July 9, 2018, and will conclude July 20.

Checkered Flag is a large-scale aerial exercise designed to integrate fourth and fifth-generation airframes to enhance the capabilities of Airmen while providing training to rapidly respond to current, real-world conflicts and preparing for the future of air superiority.

“To be ready and lethal is our overall goal,” said Lt Col. Paul “Tabs” Voss, Head Quarters Air Combat Command Operations Division (A3O7) branch chief. “Tyndall is perfectly suited for Checkered Flag given [the size of their airspace] and the freedom to execute the air superiority mission. Tyndall is an outstanding location for these exercises.”

The two-week long exercise focuses on the involvement of the F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II and legacy aircraft training in a large-force exercise to enhance combat airpower capabilities.

During this exercise, units are evaluated on their ability to mobilize, integrate, deploy and employ combat airpower assets on a larger scale while tactically integrating with various fighter squadrons.

“Checkered Flag is an event that allows us to execute and get Airmen back to readiness,” Voss said. “What we do here at Tyndall with fifth and fourth-generation [aircraft], is execute air superiority, which is one of Air Combat Command’s functions and responsibly. This large-scale exercise is a good way to apply air superiority with fourth and fifth-generation airframes.”

Checkered Flag integrates the total force through training active-duty Airmen while capitalizing on the knowledge, experience and proficiency of Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard Airmen and other military branches.

“Reservist are running the show,” Voss said. “We now have the synergy of working with them and can execute missions with a force that is healthy. In addition, we are working with Navy and Marine counter parts.”

Jeff Satterfield, HQ ACC A3O7 Checkered Flag program manager, said the young exercise is vital to predeployment training, and both Tyndall and reserve Airmen involved in it play a significant role to the success of the exercise.

“All of Tyndall has really embraced it,” said Satterfield about the exercise. “There’s great synergy between all Tyndall units and all the different units and branches that come down.”