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133rd Airlift Wing Emphasis on Combat Readiness Training

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing prepare to take off in a C-130 Hercules in St. Paul, Minn., May 19, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing prepare to take off in a C-130 Hercules in St. Paul, Minn., May 19, 2018. The Airmen are taking part in an exercise where they will receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Austen R. Adriaens)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018. The training is designed to test the Airmen’s ability to support airlift and aeromedical flight operations while wearing Mission Oriented Protractive Posture, or MOPP gear, with the ability to conduct PAR routes and report their information between simulate attacks. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bristol Evasco)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018. The training is designed to test the Airmen’s ability to support airlift and aeromedical flight operations while wearing Mission Oriented Protractive Posture, or MOPP gear, with the ability to conduct PAR routes and report their information between simulate attacks. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bristol Evasco)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018. The training is designed to test the Airmen’s ability to support airlift and aeromedical flight operations while wearing Mission Oriented Protractive Posture, or MOPP gear, with the ability to conduct PAR routes and report their information between simulate attacks. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Bauer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participate in a training exercise which covered Ability-To-Survive and Operate principles, or ATSO, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich., May 19, 2018. The training is designed to test the Airmen’s ability to support airlift and aeromedical flight operations while wearing Mission Oriented Protractive Posture, or MOPP gear, with the ability to conduct PAR routes and report their information between simulate attacks. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Bauer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing prepare to take off in a C-130 Hercules in St. Paul, Minn., May 19, 2018.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing prepare to take off in a C-130 Hercules in St. Paul, Minn., May 19, 2018. The Airmen are taking part in an exercise where they will receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Austen R. Adriaens)

SAINT PAUL, Minn. Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

 

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

 

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.

 

"To get everyone on the same page, we conducted ATSO training. The training was provided in classroom setting and covered PAR [Post Attach Reconnaissance] routes, m8 paper and putting on the mask," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Morgan Johnson, an emergency manager with the 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron. "Here (at Alpena) we had the members take apart their masks, piece by piece, set up PAR routes and were taught how to report the information.”

 

The last time the wing participated in a readiness exercise was eight years ago. As a result, for more than half of the Airmen it was their first time experiencing this type of training.

 

"I didn't know what to expect,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Nicolette Weis, a knowledge management specialist with the 133rd Communication Flight. “I remembered donning MOPP gear at basic and I assumed it would be similar. The best thing I did to prepare for this was to go into the exercise with an open mind. I was ready to learn, knowing that I would make mistakes.”

 

Iron Ore provided Airmen with a new level of understanding about the importance of their job.

 

“We have patients,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Danielle Wilson, a medical technician with the 133rd Medical Group. “We had to remember that we have to take care of ourselves first. Also, we had to know what to do with our patients afterward by putting on their MOPP gear. It was a scenario which I have never thought of.”

 

Other Airmen echoed this perspective as well. Throughout the course of the readiness exercise, participants provided feedback that the training was beneficial.

 

"The training exceeded all expectations,” said Weis. “This exercise allowed me to understand what it was like to wear MOPP gear while performing my job. This experience provided outstanding training and I would highly encourage other Airmen to volunteer at the next opportunity!”