TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As Checkered Flag 17-1 and Combat Archer 17-3 combined large
scale aerial exercise kicked off Dec. 5, Tyndall braced for an influx of
aircraft, units and the Air Force’s most valued asset -- Airmen.
More than 800 additional Airmen joined Team Tyndall during
the exercises, and the 325th Force Support Squadron provided them the
necessary amenities such as lodging and sustenance.
“Our facility managers work hard to prepare for events such
as Checkered Flag to ensure our folks are trained and ready for increased
customer flow and workloads,” said Maj. Rose Englebert, 325th FSS commander.
Combining the exercises Checkered Flag and Combat Archer
saves the Air Force money and resources. For the 325th FSS, it also makes
planning a little easier.
“The benefit of combining Checkered Flag and Combat Archer
is fiscal efficiency; we’re able to do two things at one time for the same cost, and it saves time for each of the individual units, because it helps us reduce
the operations tempo,” said Col. Randall Cason, 325th Air Expeditionary Wing
If the exercises were not combined, it would mean double the
amount of operations. In today’s Air Force, the need to be more financially and
operationally efficient is at an all-time high, Cason said.
To prepare for exercises like these, the squadron’s
dining facilities stock up on supplies and prepare lodging facilities for the
“Pre-planning has assisted with avoiding unnecessary strain
on the facility and personnel,” Englebert said.
Proper preparation has minimized strain on the dining
facilities; however, the squadron’s lodging facilities have been heavily impacted.
“[Pressure] on the facility is drastically increased for the
lodging reservations desk,” Englebert said. “Constant changes in reservations
increases the workload approximately 30 percent, as more than 500 Checkered Flag
participants are housed in contract quarters off-base.”
The Sand Dollar Inn is still required to maintain rooming
lists and keep track of those members staying off base, Englebert continued.
“Housekeeping is feeling the brunt of the strain, as the
occupancy rate has drastically increased," she said. "Currently, the Sand Dollar Inn is operating with a 25 personnel shortage
Despite the shortages and heavy workload, the facility is no
stranger to the hard work.
“Lodging houses multiple large events and exercises
throughout the year,” Englebert said. “The NCO Academy, Weapons System Evaluation
Program and various distinguished visitor stays challenge this operation on a
daily basis. As they are used to housing large numbers of personnel, the [facility]
has plans in place to ensure the staff is taken care of and prepared for such
While every unit on Tyndall can feel the impact of an
exercise like Checkered Flag, the 325th FSS remains on the front lines of
ensuring exercise success.
“I am very proud of the hard work the men and women in my
squadron do on a daily basis,” Englebert said. “They work tirelessly to ensure
the needs of all our customers are met, so they may go out and execute the
mission. They are an outstanding group of individuals, who in my opinion,
represent the very best the Air Force has to offer.”