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Practicing for perfection
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Senior Airman Nicholas Witters leads Airman 1st Class Rent Seebeck and Airman 1st Class Andrei Oliynik as they approach a suspect during an active shooter exercise scenario on June 16 in Building 1604. The 66th Security Forces Squadron responded to the active shooter incident as part of the Base Readiness Exercise last week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
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Readiness exercise shows progress being made

Posted 6/23/2011   Updated 6/23/2011 Email story   Print story


by Chuck Paone
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

6/23/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Base officials were impressed with progress made in a number of areas during the recent base readiness exercise (BRE), which wrapped up June 16.

"There's still a ways to go, but Hanscom showed improvements in every major area when compared to the BREs held in March and April," said exercise planner Joe Lawlor.

The robust schedule of base readiness exercises has been designed to help base personnel prepare for the Hanscom's next Operational Readiness Inspection, but also to help them prepare for their real world responsibilities.

"Hanscom has made great progress in preparation toward the ORI, but the greatest benefit is that we are better prepared for a real world contingency," said Col. Juan Gaud, 66th Air Base Group deputy commander.

Graded components of the ORI include deployment processing, which also takes into account all of the pre-deployment preparation such as medical readiness and proper packing of deployment bags. It will also look at the ability of deployers to survive and operate in a deployed environment.

The ORI will use various exercise scenarios to test the ability of base personnel to respond to various emergencies, including active shooters, hazardous materials spills, crashes and even natural disasters.

Responders in the June exercise handled these various scenarios exceptionally, Mr. Lawlor said. He praised the fire department, security forces, bio-environmental and others, and also noted that coordination between the on-scene commanders and the Emergency Operations Center was very good.

Deployment processing and the ability to survive and operate in the deployed location, referred to as ATSO, also showed great improvement, according to Inspector General Lt. Col. Scott Pierce.

"The personnel deployment line flowed very well; it was clear that people had really improved their processes," he said. "It was also clear that our June 10 training session paid off, because individuals demonstrated much stronger weapons familiarization and self-aid and buddy care skills during the ATSO day."

That day, June 15, exercise deployers also donned chemical warfare gear and worked on other deployed operational requirements in 90 degree-plus heat.

"It was very hot, but everyone did a great job, and we really appreciate all their hard work and commitment to a very important part of our Air Force mission that we don't see every day," Colonel Pierce said.

While individual skills were very high, teamwork during ATSO exercise scenarios could still use refinement, Mr. Lawlor said.

"That's a natural thing, though, and really, the teams just need time to coalesce," he said.

Colonel Pierce encourages the deployers - and all military members at Hanscom - to keep working toward total preparedness, and not just in preparation for the ORI.

"It's always good for military members to remember that the primary reason we're wearing the uniform is that we're warfighters," he said. "We must always be prepared. It's always important, and even more so now."

As for the general Hanscom population response to the exercise, officials concluded that people seemed more attuned to what was happening. They hope the trend continues - that people will continue to listen to the Giant Voice and other warning information and act appropriately.

"We need all of Team Hanscom to 'play' fully during these base-wide events, because during the ORI, everyone will be looked at," Colonel Pierce said.

June BRE Outstanding Performers:
Darlene Blunt, 66ABG/SC
Capt. Aaron Buzawa, ESC/JAC
Capt. Jospeh Clancy, ESC/HSJI
Airman 1st Class Dennis Cooke, 66 MDS
Zach Corcoran, 66ABG/CEX
Capt. Sean Eaton, ESC/JAC
1st Lt. Dan Elias, ESC/HN
Tech. Sgt. Matthew Ellgen, 66 SFS
Staff Sgt. Tim Galloway, ESC/JAA
Tech Sgt. Nicole Hampton, ESC/JA
Staff Sgt. Oteasha Haynes, 66 SFS
Capt. Kevin Hoy, ESC/HBGB
1st Lt. Ronald Jenkins, ESC/HS
Christopher Meeks, 66 MDS
Steve Morin, 66 LRS
Brent Nagele, 66ABG/CEX
Bill Neice, 66 ABG/CEKR
Staff Sgt. Irasema Reed, 66 SFS
Senior Airman Richard Riley, 66 MDS
Senior Airman Richard Ruiz, 66 FSS
Capt. Stela Striligas, 66 MDS
Staff Sgt. Lana Tavernaro, 66 FSS
Staff Sgt. Daniel Vazquez, 66 SFS
Senior Airman Thurman Williams, 66 ABG/CP
Marilyn Wurie, 66 ABG/SC

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