JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The 433rd Airlift Wing conducted Exercise Alamo Bravo, a deployment readiness training event, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland May 3-7.
The exercise enabled leadership to assess its Reserve Citizen Airmen’s deployment and readiness capabilities, so units within the wing can determine strengths and areas of improvement.
“It’s been a long time since we did an exercise of this magnitude, so we’re knocking a lot of the rust off, but we’re going to continue on so we can get better,” said Col. Terry W. McClain, 433rd AW commander. “It’s been great because everyone has stepped up. And even though it’s not fun, they have embraced it doing the best they can in a not-so-good situation.”
The exercise covered many different aspects of deployment readiness that included deployment processing, deployment to location, chemical and hostile attacks, medical attention in the field, vehicle convoys, forward deployment to new a location and redeployment back to home station.
Day one started with the out-processing element of a deployment. The Citizen Airmen were processed on a simulated flight to a fictitious location. Upon arrival, the wing established security along with base operations.
The 433rd Security Forces Squadron members who deployed during the exercise were immediately tested upon arrival to the site and were up for the challenge.
“All the capabilities that we have in security forces, my teammates and I have had the opportunity to go hands-on and actually do the mission set,” said Staff Sgt. Rick Cardona, 433rd Security Forces Squadron fire team leader. “This is not like a typical unit training assembly weekend, we’re actually out here getting our hands dirty.”
After two days at the training site, the scenario directed the deployed location to become uninhabitable. This forced the wing to relocate to an alternate location.
The further evaluation of the wing’s capability to establish an alternate base of operation continued to highlight the necessity of the training.
“The overall significance of doing this training is to essentially prepare you for when you do deploy,” said Staff Sgt. Taylor Rauser, 433rd Force Support Squadron personnel specialist. “We are in the military and we do get tasked to deploy, so that’s the biggest thing about this exercise; it’s to fully prepare you.”
In the end, all the hours and meetings it took to plan and execute the training, proved beneficial to determining the wing’s overall mission-ready posture.
“We came together as a wing, both on the planning side and the on the exercise-player side and we were happy to know that everyone knows their job well,” said Master Sgt. Jaime Ortega, 433rd AW readiness exercise planner, inspector general. “The planning stage was a lengthy one that took several months of planning, almost 60 planners, many challenges that came at us, literally up until the night before, but we were able to overcome everything and work as a team.”