by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
12/22/2015 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- When
several military organizations come together to accomplish a common
goal, it not only validates their commitment to the mission, but it
strengthens the morale of its members.
Nowhere was this more evident than in this year's combined Checkered Flag 16-1 and Combat Archer exercise.
The 83rd Fighter Weapon Squadron came together with the 325th Fighter
Wing for the second time to host the Air Combat Command's Checkered Flag
16-1 exercise. Checkered Flag is a large-force exercise that gives
several legacy and fifth-generation aircraft the chance to practice
combat training together in simulated employment from a deployed
Every year the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group's 83rd FWS hosts 12 Weapon
System Evaluation Program's, known as Combat Archer, a platform that
evaluates the air-to-air weapon system capability of combat aircraft.
"The data gathered from the Combat Archer evaluation is used to make
strategic decisions on air-to-air weapons by senior U.S. Air Force
leaders and combatant commanders," said Col. Scott Ward, 53rd WEG
commander. "Part of the [53rd] WEG's mission is to evaluate air-to-air
weapons, so these evaluations are vital to accomplishing that mission."
The 325th FW and 83rd FWS hosted Checkered Flag units, and together they
provided all of the required support for the visiting squadrons,
including office, maintenance, equipment, airspace, scenario development
and weapons support accommodations, said Ward.
Integrating both these exercises has provided supporting units with increased resources and saved the Air Force money.
"When you take a look at the amount of assets we're bringing in for the
WSEP it makes sense to integrate more assets together and garner some
costs savings," said Col. Joseph Kunkel, 325th FW vice commander.
Once Checkered Flag is finished, the lessons learned will be highlighted to Air Combat Command staff.
"From what I've seen, it went very well," Ward said. "The various units
got the opportunity to train together in an exercise that's larger than
the unit-level training they would usually get at home-station."
"Training like this is the foundation for everything the Air Force does,
and it is vital to every mission," Kunkel said. "The Air Force is
always looking for ways to save taxpayer dollars and with combining
Checkered Flag and the WSEP they did just that. Not only is this going
to improve our force, but it is also going to make our Airmen better."