Ready to deploy anytime, anywhere
By Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 22, 2016
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Fighter Wing participated in operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 17-03 simulating a deployed environment at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 15-17.
OREs give the wing an opportunity to demonstrate its ability to employ forces under simulated combat conditions and meet Air Force standards for mission continuity in conventional and chemical warfare environments.
Every participant in the ORE had specific actions and procedures they needed to take according to their role in the wing’s overall mission. The exercise tested 20th FW personnel on their ability to handle scenarios such as aggressive personnel, casualties, and mission-oriented protective posture level changes.
MOPP levels are determined by an area’s chemical threat level and dictate the type of gear that must be worn to survive an attack. The specialized equipment includes a chemical and biological agent-resistant full-body suit, rubber boots and gloves, a gas mask, body armor, and a helmet, all of which collectively weighs more than 15 pounds.
Although MOPP gear can be cumbersome and often limits visibility and movement, Airmen are still expected to complete their mission-related tasks. For example, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron personnel worked to construct an alternate Unit Control Center building while wearing their full-body suits, rubber boots, body armor, and helmets.
While pilots and tactical aircraft maintainers worked to keep aircraft in the air, 20th CES personnel continued to construct the brick building that will support future exercise operations.
“My part in the exercise is to help lead this crew in building the UCC for contingency purposes,” said Tech. Sgt. John Burgess, 20th CES vertical shop NCO in charge.
In order to build the walls of the alternate UCC, 20th CES personnel mixed sand, minerals and water to make mortar, a substance that holds the bricks of the building together.
“We lay down mortar in between each joint, put the brick down, level it, plumb it and make sure it is at the right elevation so it is not too high in one spot and low in the other, and then continue on to the next block,” said Airman 1st Class Nathen Trevino, 20th CES structural apprentice.
The exercise was an opportunity for 20th FW Airmen to hone their skills and test their ability to operate effectively in a simulated deployed environment. Over the course of the three-day exercise, Airmen from all corners of the base proved themselves capable of completing their assigned tasks and contributing to overall mission success, even in the face of added stressors such as simulated attacks from hostile forces.
By practicing how they plan to play, 20th FW Airmen sharpened key skills, gained practical knowledge and built critical confidence.