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Alamo Wing Airmen improve readiness with ATSO training

By Senior Airman Bryan Swink | 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs | Dec. 1, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

More than 100 Airmen from the 433rd Airlift Wing participated in an Ability to Survive and Operate training exercise along the flight line here Nov. 18, 2017.

The focus of the training was geared toward responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats in a deployed environment. ATSO training is designed to provide Airmen opportunities to respond and react to external threats in a simulated deployed environment.

Both ground troops and air crew members participated in the exercise but were focusing on specific events that would be experienced in a deployed locations specific to their situations.

The exercise started with the participants already in theater dressed in mission oriented protective posture gear level 2 with the suspicion an attack was possible. As soon as the simulated attack began, the Airmen donned their full protective equipment and entered MOPP 4.

“We wanted to put them through many situations to test their current knowledge and find areas that we are weak in,” said Senior Master Sgt. Joel Eyster, 433rd AW Inspector General superintendent.

The ground-troop Airmen had to assess the contaminated area by conducting post-attack reconnaissance sweeps and make their way to a safe zone dealing with different scenarios and obstacles along the way.

They began by securing equipment and looking for unexploded ordnances in the area before running into a group of rowdy protesters shouting obscenities and eventually throwing a back pack over the fence toward the Airmen that exploded, simulating another gas attack. As they continued on their way to the safe zone, the came across a downed Airmen who needed self-aid and buddy care.

Finally reaching the end of the course, they proceeded through the decontamination zone where they removed their MOPP gear safely without exposing any chemicals in the safe zone.

“All in all, it was a success, but the best part of it is we discovered the areas which we weren’t as proficient in which gives us a great idea of where we need to focus our training in the future,” said Eyster. “By the end of it, everyone seemed to get a lot of good training out of the exercise.”