JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
More than 200 Airmen from 120 different unit type codes participated in the final portion of the 433rd Airlift Wing’s 2018 Annual Readiness Assessment training exercise at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Nov. 17. The objective of the assessment was to evaluate the wing’s normal pre-deployment readiness process as well as their deployment skills in a hostile environment.
The exercise began with Reserve Citizen Airmen donning mission oriented protective posture suits to operate in an environment after an attack.
After a hostile incident, members assigned to post attack reconnaissance teams surveyed the area looking for chemical and biological agents, unexploded ordnance and a drone carrying a suspicious payload.
“We used these props to evaluate the teams' response to different hostile events that may be encountered while deployed,” Lt. Col. Fred McMahon, 433rd Airlift Wing inspector general said.
McMahon’s job was to evaluate mission execution for both specific events and help with the various scenario setups.
Aircrew and aircrew flight support technicians went through their scenarios away from their normal workspace-the flight line.
“This is great training for these Airmen and for us as well, training is paramount,” Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Alfrido, 433rd Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment superintendent said. “It has to get done. It’s very important for Airmen to know what to do in these situations if they get attacked in a chemical environment in a war time situation.”
Some members performed survival skills events such as self-aid and buddy care for simulated injuries. Other members performed practical skillsets in protective gear like aircraft cargo loading, base defense, explosive ordinance disposal, and fire and emergency services.
The wing inspection team, safety team, and emergency management team oversaw the exercise execution to monitor and evaluate more than a dozen simultaneous events to support the commander’s objectives. Other inspections were conducted in the months prior to the exercise that evaluated readiness to deploy (medical, mobility, and training requirements).
The wing inspection team was able to evaluate all of the objectives. We planned this ARA to be highly efficient and condensed—we saved valuable resources, to include Airmen’s time according to McMahon.
The exercise concluded with the participants boarding busses in MOPP gear for a ride to Stillman Park for lunch. After stepping off the bus, they went through decontamination stations where they were trained on how to remove their MOPP gear without exposure to any chemical or biological agents.
“This type of training benefits the Force Support Squadron Airmen because they are able to get the training that they would need for any future deployments,” Capt. Thanya Martinez, 433rd Force Support Squadron operations officer said.
The FSS Airmen were successful in setting up their two tents to serve and feed 150 Reserve Citizen Airmen according to Martinez.
The findings of the exercise will be shared with the units to increase readiness areas.
“The wing inspectors have reported the typical observations found during these exercises,” McMahon said. “They also commented that the teams they were evaluating had a very positive attitude and that some of the younger Airmen were highly energized and involved in the events."