Within the construct of our military is a capability known as the Global Response Force (GRF). Its sole purpose is to provide the Secretary of Defense with a menu of rapidly deployable forces. It enhances the ability of the United States to respond quickly to a variety of contingencies world-wide, and its presence has the potential to deter conflict. The GRF has components representative of our air, land, and maritime capabilities.

In order to prepare the combat air forces (CAF) components of the GRF to deploy, there is a large theater-level combat training and integration exercise hosted by the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall Air Force Base called Checkered Flag. It is an event designed to get the GRF commands to spin-up for their vulnerability period (VUL) as a team, which increases their effectiveness when called upon to deploy.

From a tactical perspective, Checkered Flag executes large force employment exercises representative of real-world threats in areas the GRF could deploy to. That is, all of the training scenarios are reality-based, utilizing threat-replication measures to make the exercise as real and robust as possible.

A Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptor rages through the airspace above Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska during a combat airpower demonstration.

In this home-grown FighterSweep video, we follow along with an F-15E Strike Eagle crew from the 335th Fighter Squadron, based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. You’ll see them gearing up for their flight, pre-flight preparation, and although we can’t show you the live missile shots and some of the other aspects of the exercise, you will see the jet as it rejoins with two Wild Weasel F-16s from the 79th Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, as well as an F-22 Raptor from the 525 FS at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.

Enjoy the ride over the Gulf of Mexico during a beautiful day this past December!

– Written by Scott Wolff for Fightersweep.com