104th Fighter Wing Always Prepared

The 104th Fighter Wing executed a Phase I and Phase II operational readiness exercise, Sept. 9, 2017 through Sept. 10, 2017, and Oct. 14, 2017, through Oct. 15, 2017. A Phase I and Phase II exercise evaluates deployment capabilities and the unit's ability to launch F-15 Eagles in a chemical environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amelia Leonard)

The 104th Fighter Wing executed a Phase I and Phase II operational readiness exercise, Sept. 9, 2017 through Sept. 10, 2017, and Oct. 14, 2017, through Oct. 15, 2017. A Phase I and Phase II exercise evaluates deployment capabilities and the unit's ability to launch F-15 Eagles in a chemical environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Amelia Leonard)

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. --

The 104th Fighter Wing completed a Phase I and Phase II Operational Readiness Exercise, Eagle Claw. The exercise took place at Barnes Air National base, Westfield, Massachusetts, Sept. 9, 2017 through Sept. 10, 2017 and Oct. 14, 2017 through Oct. 15, 2017.  All units with a wartime mission are evaluated on their operational readiness or their ability to conduct combat operations in wartime.

In September, Barnes executed familiarization training for a Phase I ORE. The unit was tested on the initial response to deploy a package of troops with short notice. In October Barnes participated in familiarization training for a Phase II ORE. Phase II tested the ability to operate in a deployed location assuming the worst conditions.

“A Phase I/II ORE tests a unit’s ability to prepare personnel, aircraft, and equipment for its wartime tasking and to sustain combat operations during hostilities,” said Lt. Col. Michael Dibrinsi. “This is conducted under simulated combat conditions assuming a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical or high threat conventional scenario.”

Wing personnel focused on critical training in self-aid and buddy care, chemical warfare detection and the ability to operate their daily positions in a chemical environment wearing their Mission Oriented Protected Posture gear.

“The exercise achieved its goal of providing numerous opportunities to practice our Phase I and Phase II skills and gauge where we are skill-wise,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Beaulieu, 104th FW Weapons Manager. “We have had positive feedback from our personnel on the exercise. Many felt it was a good initial pace and accomplished some good initial task qualification training to build on for future exercises.”

The new airmen on base were able to experience the training and gain knowledge from the veteran airmen who have been inspected in past years.
“We did this once in basic training, but it was not as detailed as this,” said Airman 1st Class Alex Lapierre, 104th Maintenance Squadron Crew Chief. “This is the first time since then that I have had a chance to put on the MOPP gear.”

Lapierre explained “Wearing the gas mask restricts your visibility. This is something you need to train to experience. The gloves make it harder to close the latches. Training like this prepares airmen for what they may have to experience in the real world ahead of time.”

Airman 1st Class Savannah Scott, 104th Maintenance Squadron Crew Chief said “I feel this has prepared us to function as if it was a real-word event without having to worry about a real-world danger during training that way we can completely focus on how to do what we need to learn. Now, when we face it, we will be ready. I learned to really pay attention during the briefings. I needed to know how to use the gas mask with the canteen. Hydration is really important when wearing your MOPP gear.”