104th Fighter Wing Participates in Large-Force Aircraft Exercise

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  • 104th Fighter Wing

Media Advisory

Release No. 17-40


SMSgt Julie Avey

413-568-9151 ext. 698-1299

Cell: (413) 564-9273




Nov. 7, 2017



For Immediate Release




104th Fighter Wing Participates in Large-Force Aircraft Exercise



BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, WESTFIELD, Mass. – More than 200 members of the 104th Fighter Wing are participating in a Checkered Flag exercise at Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida, Nov. 6-17.

Checkered Flag is a large-force exercise which provides many types of fourth and fifth-generation aircraft the chance to practice combat training together. The exercise focuses on the involvement of the F-22 Raptor, F-35A Lightning II, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and T-38 Talon training to enhance combat airpower capabilities. The combination of aircraft utilized during Checkered Flag brings better situational awareness to Air Force operations.

“Over a two week period, our F-15C Eagle's will be flying Large-Force Exercise dissimilar combat training missions during Checkered Flag in preparation for an upcoming Theater Security Package deployment,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Beckel, 131st Fighter Squadron Commander. “We will be executing Fighter Integration missions with 5th Generation F-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightning aircraft during Defensive Counter Air, Offensive Counter Air-Escort and Cruise Missile defense missions.  The complexity of these missions can only be replicated at a Flag level event of this caliber.”



For many members of the 104th Fighter Wing, this exercise will be their first time working away from their home station. “I’m looking forward to going through the deployment process and performing my job,” said Airman 1st Class Lucas Santolino, transportation management apprentice, 104th FW. “I will have the opportunity to work with different cargo and aircraft in a different place than I normally do.”

Aircraft will perform most of their maneuvers over the Gulf of Mexico, and will also complete their annual Combat Shield exercise requirement. The Combat Shield exercise provides operational combat units in the Air Combat Command a system-specific assessment for their aircraft's radar warning receivers, electronic attack pods, and integrated electronic warfare systems. Air Force Instruction 10-707 mandates every major command have an independent EW systems evaluation program.





The 104th Fighter Wing provides highly trained personnel ready to provide Air Superiority on demand anywhere in the world with 21 assigned F-15C Eagle Aircraft. The 104th also sits 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert, providing armed F-15 fighters ready to scramble in a moment's notice to protect the northeast United States from any airborne threat protecting one-quarter of the nation's population and over one-third of the Gross Domestic Product.  The Wing is always on call to provide emergency response to include security, logistics, communications, explosive ordnance disposal, firefighting, and medical support to the nation and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.