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79th FS exercises readiness

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Wallace, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics technician, works on an F-16CM Fighting Falcon while under to the Rapid Ready Weasel exercise’s mission-oriented protective posture gear levels at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Wallace, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics technician, works on an F-16CM Fighting Falcon while under the Rapid Ready Weasel exercise’s mission-oriented protective posture gear levels at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017. The exercise had many simulated scenarios for both pilots and maintainers where they had to work together in order to completing the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jordan Sikes, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit aircrew flight equipment technician, simulates decontaminating 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jordan Sikes, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit aircrew flight equipment technician, simulates decontaminating 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017. Not only did the Airmen need to complete the mission while following by mission-oriented protective postures, but they also had to practice the proper decontamination procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Collett, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) flight line expeditor, left, and Senior Airman Delvion Wilborne, 20th AMXS, 79th AMU tactical aircraft maintainer right, ensure 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, center, is in full and proper mission-oriented protective posture gear during the Rapid Ready Weasel exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Collett, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) flight line expeditor, left, and Senior Airman Delvion Wilborne, 20th AMXS, 79th AMU tactical aircraft maintainer right, ensure 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, is in full and proper mission-oriented protective posture gear during the Rapid Ready Weasel exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017. Even while flying, pilots must adhere to MOPP levels to practice maneuvering and doing everyday activities in full gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Collett, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit flightline expeditor, taxis an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Collett, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit flightline expeditor, taxis an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017. Maintainers and pilots use hand signals to communicate with each other from the aircraft to the ground. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Delvion Wilborne, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit tactical aircraft maintainer, assists 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, into the proper mission-oriented protective posture gear during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Delvion Wilborne, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit tactical aircraft maintainer, assists 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, into the proper mission-oriented protective posture gear during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017. Maintainers worked with pilots to ensure their wingmen were safe from any simulated chemicals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Air Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, left, and Senior Airman Delvion Wilborne, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit tactical aircraft maintainer, work together to ensure Grochalski’s mask is secure before exiting the aircraft during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lieutenant Robert Grochalski, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, left, and Senior Airman Delvion Wilborne, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit tactical aircraft maintainer, work together to ensure Grochalski’s mask is secure before exiting the aircraft during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 7, 2017. Understanding how to communicate and function while in mission-oriented protective postures is crucial to ensuring the safety of the Airmen and completing the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Gill, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, lands his aircraft during a Rapid Ready Weasel exercise at Shaw Air Force, Base S.C., Dec. 7, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Capt. David Gill, 79th Fighter Squadron pilot, lands his aircraft during a Rapid Ready Weasel exercise at Shaw Air Force, Base S.C., Dec. 7, 2017. Gill was part of the Tigers first exercise, which simulated being in areas with chemical contamination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

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.