Thunderous smoke bombs activated, simulated attacks commenced, and Airmen scrambled to action as more than 80 members of the 445th Airlift Wing participated in an annual Agile Combat Support exercise April 5-7 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Wing members deployed to a simulated bare-base location at the Wright-Patterson AFB Warfighter Training Center to hone their skills.
Col. Brian Runion, the 445th Mission Support Group commander and exercise’s emergency operations center director, provided an overview of the exercise.
The 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron took care of patients by establishing a facility for medical support. The 445th Force Support Squadron provided personnel accountability, lodging and meals, while the 445th Civil Engineer Squadron maintained facilities. Emergency management personnel were on hand in the event of a chemical situation. In addition, security forces provided support in case of a conventional attack, said Colonel Runion.
The hands-on exercise involved several agencies throughout the wing.
Staff from the mission support group served in the Emergency Operations Center, along with administrative personnel, and representatives from each wing organizations.
The 445th Logistics Readiness Squadron developed a schedule of events for the deployment as well as coordinating transportation to get to the area.
“The purpose of this training is to see if we can be ready to perform our wartime mission in a contingency-type environment,” said Runion. “I think this a good opportunity. It gives people the chance to actually practice their skills in a wartime environment.”
Participants agree that the exercise was beneficial.
“We provided the same security here that we would provide in the real world all the time,” said Staff Sgt. Mitchiner Underhill, 445th Security Forces Squadron.
Security Forces secured all perimeters of the installation ensuring that no individuals breach that perimeter through entry control points or by crossing any unfenced boundary.
During the exercise, security forces sprang into action. The entire training area filled with action as security forces covered their posts and confronted players acting as incoming insurgents. ASTS scrambled to get patients to safety and ultimately onto buses for transport to outgoing aircraft.
“When an attack started everyone sought shelter immediately and we had our teams responding as fast as possible repelling any enemy attacks,” said Underhill.
Members of the services team provided hot meals and lodging.
“The first day we came out, we set up our kitchen in a temper tent and made sure everything was running properly so we could sustain meals for all the Airmen here through the duration of the exercise,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Briggs, 445th FSS. “We also took care of lodging as well working hand in hand with PERSCO to measure to keep account ability to make sure people have a place to stay and sleep.”
Briggs emphasized the importance of training at home station and abroad to ensure mission success.
“Everybody needs training on chem gear and what to do at deployed locations,” said Briggs. “Not everywhere we go overseas is going to have hardened facilities and may be a bare-base location. We may be cooking out of a tent like we have set here. Everyone is training on how to set it up and how to cook out of it, how the machines work, improvise, adapt and overcome when situations arise.”
“It’s nice to get hands on training rather than just read it in a book,” said Briggs. “It’s a good experience, and I enjoyed partaking in it. It’s going very well, and I learned new things that I didn’t necessarily know before and things I needed to brush up on. It is nice to have that refresher every now and again.”