Readiness exercise at WPAFB simulates deployed environment

Two Airmen work together on M50 gas mask wear during training Aug. 11 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ
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Two Airmen work together on M50 gas mask wear during training Aug. 11 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ

Drill tests Airmen’s ability to respond, operate

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Airmen tested their ability to operate in a deployed environment during a Phase II readiness exercise Aug. 11-12.

“The readiness exercise is important to evaluate, measure and report the ability of units to sustain wartime, contingency or force-sustainment missions,” said Wendy Larson, the 88th Air Base Wing’s inspector general.

Larson said there were two distinct evaluations: A field portion was held at the Warfighter Training Center. The second part was an evaluation of mission-essential tasks specific to each participating unit.

The field portion was a “walk phase” approach to demonstrating wing readiness after COVID-19 and covered refresher training, followed by evaluation of wartime common skills, she said. Those skills included chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive response actions, self-aid and buddy care, and weapons handling.

The self-aid and buddy care section covered response to wartime wounds and preparing casualties for transportation to medical treatment and care.

Senior Airman Christian Garcia, 88th Medical Group, said items covered included how to pack wounds, apply tourniquets and move patients on litters.

“I’m pretty comfortable with doing the things here, but I think this was really good training,” he said. “It is important for everyone to know this when they have to perform these duties.”

Tech. Sgt. Richard Thomas (left), NCO in charge of Combat Arms for the 88th Security Forces Squadron, works with Staff Sgt. Andrew Young (center) and Airman 1st Class Matthew Lennon, both with the 88th Communications Squadron, on the M4 rifle during training Aug. 11 at the Warfighter Training Center. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ
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Tech. Sgt. Richard Thomas (left), NCO in charge of Combat Arms for the 88th Security Forces Squadron, works with Staff Sgt. Andrew Young (center) and Airman 1st Class Matthew Lennon, both with the 88th Communications Squadron, on the M4 rifle during training Aug. 11 at the Warfighter Training Center. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ

For Airman 1st Class Sabier Erazo, 88th Comptroller Squadron, the event served to invigorate the muscle memory needed for readiness.

“We get trained on CBRNE and weapons pretty regularly, so it’s just getting back into the habit of things,” he said.

The exercise’s combat arms portion was led by Tech. Sgt. Richard Thomas, 88th Security Forces Squadron, NCO in charge of Combat Arms.

“It’s very basic, but it’s the basics that every Airman should know whether stateside or overseas,” he said.

From left: Senior Airman Ivan Tendenilla, 88th Comptroller Squadron; 1st Lt. Juawana Stringer, 88th Medical Group; Airman 1st Class Andrew Ertmer, of the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight; and Senior Airman Kristin Betsch, 88th Medical Group, practice carrying a “patient” on a litter during buddy care training Aug. 11 at the Warfighter Training Center. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ
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From left: Senior Airman Ivan Tendenilla, 88th Comptroller Squadron; 1st Lt. Juawana Stringer, 88th Medical Group; Airman 1st Class Andrew Ertmer, of the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight; and Senior Airman Kristin Betsch, 88th Medical Group, practice carrying a “patient” on a litter during buddy care training Aug. 11 at the Warfighter Training Center. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ

Thomas and others from his duty section worked with Airmen on weapons-clearing procedures, disassembly, assembly and what he referred to as “immediate actions,” or what to do if the weapon does not fire. The groups also went over procedures for receiving a weapon from an armory, loading and unloading it at a clearing barrel, and then turning it back into an armory.

“It seems like everyone is clicking very well,” Thomas said. “Everyone seems happy to be here, and we are happy to teach them.”

In the exercise’s second part, as Airmen performed mission-essential tasks at suitable locations throughout the installation, wing inspection team members observed, evaluated and provided constructive comments.

Larson said an evaluation of this type had not been conducted since the 2020 Readiness Assessment and characterized the exercise’s results.

“Both phases went well and highlighted areas that need improvement or additional training,” she said.

Airmen with the 88th Air Base Wing train with M4 rifles Aug. 11 at the Warfighter Training Center. As part of a readiness exercise, Wright-Patterson AFB Airmen sharpened their skills on the M4, chemical protection and medical buddy aid. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ
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Airmen with the 88th Air Base Wing train with M4 rifles Aug. 11 at the Warfighter Training Center. As part of a readiness exercise, Wright-Patterson AFB Airmen sharpened their skills on the M4, chemical protection and medical buddy aid. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ