79th FS exercises readiness
By Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman, 20th Fighter Wing
/ Published December 13, 2017
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Pilots and maintainers joined together to conduct the 79th Fighter Squadron’s first Rapid Ready Weasel exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Dec. 7.
Airmen assigned to the 79th FS were tasked with conducting multiple simulated operations, such as fixing an engine or getting in and out of an F-16, while in mission-oriented protective posture gear levels one through four.
MOPP gear levels inform Airmen of the appropriate protective gear to wear if a chemical attack is expected. MOPP levels are determined by the likelihood of a chemical attack to occur.
“Testing how quickly and efficiently we react to each MOPP level while also continuing maintenance on jets is a great way to simulate operation in locations like Bagram or Korea,” said Airman 1st Class Jesse T. Reynolds, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics specialist. “It also helps us be more aware of the conditions and remember entry control point procedures.”
Figuring out how to get in the jet and still be able to operate wearing all the protective gear is something that is great practice, said 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski 79th FS pilot. The maintainers and pilots worked very closely together as a team to ensure their wingmen were safe and ready to complete their mission.
“It’s very beneficial to be personal with the maintainers,” said Grochalski “When I’m strapping in I know they have my back and see the things I might have missed because I’m in all this extra gear.”
After completing their tasks for the day, if any simulated contamination affected them, the Airmen had to decontaminate by carefully wiping down and removing any affected gear.
The 79th FS Airmen took the opportunity to practice real world situations and procedures that may one day save their lives.