'Para Ante Bellum'

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Armando A. Schwier-Morales
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Rooms filled with gear capable of protecting Airmen from weapons of mass destruction dot the interior of their shop. Interwoven are the shop's Airmen taking proactive steps to prepare and flags displaying "Para Ante Bellum."

Following their motto "Para Ante Bellum," Latin for if you wish for peace, prepare for war, McConnell's Readiness and Emergency Management flight provides Airmen with the training to survive and operate in hazardous environments while at their home station or abroad.

"We love our job," said Tech. Sgt. Shawn Leach, 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron REM NCOIC. "We prepare for the worst case scenarios. We train others to make sure we can keep planes flying in any condition."

Through predeployment and yearly classes, REM instructors teach and maintain chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives training. They also respond to CBRNE treats on and off base.

"I hope that our passion for the material we present will inspire everyone involved to not look at it as 'Ugh, I have to wear [Mission Oriented Protective Posture] gear again,' but to have a mindset of 'MOPP 4 is awesome!'" said Airman 1st Class Nicole Schlamann, 22nd CES REM journeyman. "It's not just about getting an excellent for the inspection, but about being prepared for everything."

The flight is also in charge of training Airmen for operational readiness inspections, to help them achieve an excellent rating. McConnell's upcoming October 2011 ORI is scheduled to be graded on the Ability to Survive and Operate part, REM specialty.

"I think the ORI is going to be fun, because this is what we train for in technical school and definitely the ATSO we know best," said Airman Schlamann. "We can't let the bad guys win and the only way we can do that is if we practice how we're going play in the real world."

In preparation, the flight is organizing ATSO rodeos for McConnell's Airmen to learn about post attack reconnaissance teams, marking unexploded ordnance, first aid, donning MOPP gear and many other survival skills.

"I am excited our energetic [REM] has the preeminent role in preparing McConnell for this ATSO-only evaluation," said Lt. Col. Paul Powell, 22nd Air Refueling Wing ORI lead planner. "Their amazing depth of knowledge will win the day as 95 percent of the ORI is based on emergency management skills and training."

With less than four months until the ORI, McConnell's Airmen will be seeing more MOPP gear, REM instructors and a positive spin on training, explained Airman Schlamann.

"REM technicians are pessimists by trade," said Sergeant Leach. "If we prepare for the worst and hope for the best, then we are never surprised."