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88th Air Base Wing evaluates basic readiness skills

  • Published
  • By Matthew Clouse
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — In the early morning darkness Nov. 3, more than 70 Airmen gathered under the lights in the Warfighter Training Center pavilion, anxiously waiting for a long day of training to begin.

“The world is a very unstable place,” Wendy Larson, 88th Air Base Wing inspector general, said to the Airmen. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. So please take this readiness exercise seriously and bring a good attitude.”

The readiness exercise is an annual requirement for 88 ABW and its Inspector General Office, per Air Force regulations. Each year, the IG plans, executes and reports on the weeklong event.

This year, a mix of officers and enlisted personnel from 88 ABW were evaluated on their basic readiness skills, which included: chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear defense survival; tactical combat casualty care and M4 carbine handling.

“These are basic readiness skills that every Airman should know,” said Roxie Viney, IG wing inspection and exercise program chief. “During the exercise, our job is to report accurately to the wing commander on how 88th Airmen performed. Because when we give him this report, he needs to decide if they are prepared to deploy or correct any issues. So it’s only fair to our wing commander that we give a true assessment.”

The readiness exercise began at 7 a.m. with a safety message, and then Airmen were separated into three groups to get evaluated on the three basic readiness skills.

Each was assessed by a subject matter expert: CBRN by the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Emergency Management Office, TCCC by the 88th Medical Group and M4 carbine handling by the 88th Security Forces Squadron’s Combat Arms Training and Maintenance section.   

“At the end of the day, I hope our 88th Airmen learn something and feel more prepared to deploy,” said David Filipkowski, IG installation exercise program manager. “That’s the goal of this readiness exercise.”

The CBRN evaluation put Airmen through each mission-oriented protective posture level. They were graded on whether the equipment was worn correctly and had to prove they could drink water from a canteen while wearing their gas mask.

Airmen were evaluated at four different stations for the exercise’s TCCC portion. They had to put a tourniquet on themselves and secure it in less than a minute, demonstrate how to open the airway on a human manikin, wrap a wound with pressure and rapidly assess the injuries on a casualty.  

The M4 carbine-handling evaluation included taking it apart, putting it back together, clearing the weapon and performing a function check.

“I’m deploying next year, so this was good practice,” said Airman 1st Class James Suh, 88th Communications Squadron client systems technician. “I’m still pretty fresh out of basic training, but this was a good reminder because I haven’t done TCCC in a while.”  

Teams test skills out in the field

Airmen completed the individual-evaluation portion of the exercise by 11:30 a.m. They ate lunch in the field, followed by a competition using the skills they learned in the morning.

“The afternoon is about applying those readiness skills in a team environment,” Filipkowski said. “We’re going to be focusing on communication, teamwork and leadership. Hopefully, those things come to fruition. Senior NCOs and officers stepping up and leading a team…that’s what we were really trying to get out of it and make it fun.”

Teams consisted of five Airmen and were timed on how quickly they completed an obstacle course’s four stations.

The first objective was to take apart, assemble and then perform a function check on an M4 carbine.

Airmen then ran to the CBRN station and put on MOPP level 4 equipment, filled out a nine-line report and then identified unexploded ordnance with binoculars.

After completing those tasks, Airmen moved to station 3, where teams worked to tie a clove-hitch knot around a telephone pole.

The final task involved TCCC skills, with each team dragging a “wounded” patient out of harm’s way, putting them on a stretcher and running with the litter to the finish line. The winning team took just more than 25 minutes to complete the obstacle course.

The exercise may be over, but the work is not finished for the IG. Now, the team will gather all its findings and write a report to give to the wing commander.

“[We prepare a] report that gives Col. Christopher Meeker a good description on how his wing performed when it comes to generate, employ and sustain readiness,” Viney said.

The next readiness exercise is tentatively scheduled for next August and will be graded by Air Force Materiel Command.