The U.S. Air Force announced that Air Combat Command’s Office of the Surgeon General recently hosted a post-nuclear training exercise.
The exercise spanned over three days of training Airmen from multiple different units on how to safely work with contaminated assets.
The Air Force released airmen from the 187th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 633rd Civil Engineering Squadron, 192nd Civil Engineering Squadron and the 633rd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron learned different facets of identifying radiological contamination, decontamination techniques and how to safely work with contaminated assets.
The focus of the initiative, headed by ACC’s SG in partnership with Alliance Solutions Group, was to home in on training maintainers to survey and launch aircraft that have been exposed to radiological contamination in the safest way possible while still guaranteeing mission success.
“As bioenvironmental engineers, we’re in charge of making sure that people are healthy and safe in their work environments regardless of their location,” said Maj. Olivia Lawson, ACC/SG Deputy Command bioenvironmental engineer.
“With this exercise we wanted to give the maintainers a space in which they could learn these new skills and also provide an environment in which they could give real-time feedback on how the instruction is written so we can make these tactics, techniques and procedures as easy to follow as possible for any maintainer in a contingency location.”
As concepts continue to evolve, it is important that Airmen are prepared and trained to handle a myriad of different circumstances and crises that could be presented in future conflicts.
“With the ACE [Agile Combat Employment] constructs, we need to have a light logistical footprint. We need to be able to operate in dispersed locations and have multi-capable Airmen that are trained to respond to radiological contamination, especially maintainers, who would have a higher likelihood of coming into close contact with contaminated assets,” said Maj. Anastasia Peterson, ACC Directorate of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, deputy chief of operations. “When operating from a contingency location there is a strong chance that emergency management Airmen and bioenvironmental engineers will not be present.
“It is critical that our maintainers are well trained to prevent degradation to their health and to the mission by knowing how to mitigate these risks of exposure to radiological material.”
Overall, this exercise’s focus was not only on facilitating mission success in the face of radiological exposure, but most importantly to ensure the health and safety of Airmen.
“At the end of the day we have to protect our people to the best of our ability because without them there is no mission,” said Lawson. “Our hope is that we can take all of the feedback from this exercise and build a comprehensive and easily digestible set of procedures to help ensure the safety of all maintainers across ACC.”
This exercise is an offshoot of an Air Mobility Command exercise called RADIANT PHOENIX in which AMC Airmen were trained how to complete this process with cargo and refueler aircraft.