PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – If you live in the Bay County area get ready for a little noise. Jet noise that is. Tyndall Air Force Base is hosting its bi-annual checkered flag exercise.
From Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 Tyndall Air Force Base will be hosting air force units from across the U.S. and the world.
“This is a pinnacle of training,” said Lt. Col. Alex Goldfein.
It’s one of the Department of Defense’s largest air-to-air exercises.
“It’s really cool for us,” Goldfein said.
Over 40 aircraft will be participating in the event.
“And no, we’re not going to war, but we are absolutely training to be ready all the time.”
Training consists of simulating high-speed aerial fights and shooting live missiles at moving targets. The jets go as fast as the speed of sound.
“We got up F-22s and F-35s on the ramp, F-16s and then we’ve also got F-15s flying in locally. We’ve got T-38s and then a bunch of tanker and support as well as our controllers we have E7E3 support off station as well,” Goldfein said.
Running the checkered flag takes a lot of manpower. Lt. Col. Alex Goldfein says close to 500 personnel are supporting the exercise.
What makes this checkered flag so special is that Tyndall is breaking out their newest f-35s for the event.
“We just got our first F-35 is on the ramp back in August. We’ve got eight of them now. So we are going to have the 95th fighter squadron flying in the exercise, which is a really cool addition to have Tyndall partake in its own exercise for a change.”
Goldfein says this event gives pilots a chance to really stretch their legs and effectively show their strengths and weaknesses.
“It really just brings everybody together and gives us a chance to learn how to fight together. All too often we have our platform, we fight each other, we kind of get used to our tactics and what we do. This is the chance to take it with one of the best airspaces in the world,” Goldfein said.
And that airspace is out over the Gulf of Mexico, right here in the panhandle.
Training exercises will continue daily until Nov. 9. There will be an awards ceremony at the end of the event awarding the top airmen.