Operational Readiness Exercise tests McConnell
By Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 19, 2018
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Maintainers, aircrew, medical, finance and security forces were just a few organizations that took part in McConnell’s base-wide Operational Readiness Exercise that occurred Nov. 13 through Nov. 16.
The ORE was designed to prepare Airmen to respond to external threats through a series of simulated deployment scenarios. It also provided Airmen with feedback to help enhance processes and measure the ability of units to perform during wartime or contingencies.
“Readiness exercises are essentially, the ability to survive and operate in a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environment,” said Jeffrey Jewell, 22nd Air Refueling Wing deputy inspector general. “The 22nd ARW did this by training and exercising in a simulated hazardous environment. Operational readiness was the primary focus.”
The wing’s squadrons combined their efforts to not only increase their knowledge on safety measures, but to ensure that the base is able to support its primary mission during hazardous conditions.
Inspectors planned alarm signals to simulate hazardous environments and field conditions in action. During the simulated hazards, Airmen responded quickly by donning protective equipment. Airmen also completed multiple tasks, such as buddy checks, self-aid buddy care and post-attack reconnaissance (PAR), which increased their situational knowledge and ability to respond to any situation.
PAR teams were sent during specific alarm conditions to search structures for damage, contamination, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and injured Airmen. If a simulated UXO was found during the PAR team’s search, they would notify the appropriate personnel and EOD would respond to the location to remove any hazard.
“Communication is key when running a UXO call on base,” said Tech. Sgt. Josef Miller 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician. “There are so many moving parts to make sure that the mission continues successfully, and a UXO can greatly affect those processes. Without communication, our job becomes a lot more dangerous to other people and the process to ‘safe’ the UXO becomes a much lengthier process.”
Miller explained that first they need to ensure safety for personnel. Second, they identify what kind of UXO is present and thirdly, learn how to disarm or detonate the UXO safely. He also said that these kind of exercises are not only great for EOD, but also the base populace so personnel are able to see the real world impact the events could have on the mission to refuel.
“Team McConnell brought it this week, and Chief and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Col. Josh Olson, 22nd ARW commander. “I asked you to bring it with a positive attitude and effort, and you answered in spades!”
The goal of the exercise was to train Airmen and practice the measures that need to be taken to ensure the wing’s mission is successful. The 22nd ARW conducts combat air refueling and airlift operations, while supporting national objectives worldwide and is able to continue even during hazardous situations.