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NEWS | Feb. 14, 2020

37th Training Wing bivouac exercise builds readiness, camaraderie

By Senior Airman Dillon Parker 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Personnel from the 37th Training Wing participated in a bivouac exercise Feb. 11-13, at the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training, or BEAST, site at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Medina Annex.

The three-day, two-night exercise simulated the establishment and defense of a base in foreign territory with the mission of providing humanitarian aid to displaced civilians.

“The intent of this exercise was to provide a highly realistic scenario and environment,” said Capt. James Francis, 319th Training Squadron Flight commander. “The specific priorities were building individual and team confidence, instilling a readiness mindset, and fostering stronger relationships across the wing.”

Over the course of the exercise, participants practiced weapons handling, self-aid buddy care, dismounted patrol missions, and operational security while demonstrating their ability to survive and operate in a hostile environment. Participants faced surprise attacks from role players acting as opposing forces, as well as a number of different civilian scenarios.

“An incredible team effort was required to be able to put on an exercise of this magnitude,” Francis said. “We had approximately 180 total participants, with every group in the 37th TRW being represented. Everyone did an amazing job making this feel like a real-world operation.”

All aspects of the exercise were completed with the goal of improving the comprehensive fitness of 37th TRW personnel in line with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s “Return to Readiness” mandate, said Col. Jason Janaros, 37th TRW Commander.

“Readiness is the Secretary of the Air Force’s number one priority,” Janaros said. “Unit readiness starts in the heart of individual Airmen, our ultimate weapon system. This exercise, which was focused exclusively on our permanent party personnel, will set us up for future success. You train and make mistakes in this environment so you won’t make mistakes in the combat environment.” 

“We’ve got such a great environment out here at BEAST and we’ve got to take advantage of it,” Janaros said. “Our collective goal is to build hard targets – more ready, more lethal Airmen who are prepared for the challenges they might face downrange or even downtown. Whether it's a lifesaving endeavor on the side of the road, defending themselves or a loved one, or facing a personal hardship, we’ve got to be prepared.”