BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MASSACHUSETTS --
Barnestormers across the 104th Fighter Wing conducted a readiness exercise as part of the wing’s midpoint inspection November 4-6, 2021 at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts.
Midpoint inspections are conducted to evaluate the wing’s Commander’s Inspection Program and to evaluate the wing’s capabilities to respond to threats in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment.
For Airman 1st Class Sadie Lienau, an environmental and electrical technician with the 104th Maintenance Group, this midpoint inspection and readiness exercise was a brand new experience.
“As my first wing-level inspection exercise, this experience has been challenging in a lot of ways,” said Lienau. “Mainly, we are responsible for ensuring the environment within the jets is safe for our pilots while also being evaluated on our responses to simulated attacks and scenarios throughout the duration of the exercise,” she said. "We never know when the next simulated attack will be, but we have to be prepared for anything.”
For other Airmen involved in the inspection exercise, it was a chance to put what they have practiced to the test.
“During this inspection exercise I was a member of the decontamination team for medical patients,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Reynolds, an aerospace medical technician with the104th Medical Group. “This exercise allowed us to apply our training to treat patients in a real-time simulated contested and degraded environment where we had to coordinate our actions and responses to the Mission Oriented Protective Posture and Force Protection Condition levels like we would in a real-world scenario.”
As part of the midpoint inspection, members from Air Combat Command came to assess the unit in conjunction with Wing Inspection Team members. ACC inspectors function to ensure that units across the command are ready to meet the challenges of wartime defense.
“Exercises like these give Airmen a chance to practice their skills on a larger scale, '' said Chief Master Sergeant Jeffrey Samuelson, 104th Communications Flight senior enlisted leader. “There isn’t a very significant difference between the systems we maintain here and the systems we’ll maintain in Central Command or the Pacific Air Force Command,” he said. “The difference is really the scope and the stakes. In an exercise we can simulate larger, more complex challenges similar to a deployed location, encouraging Airmen to think outside the box before they deploy,” he said.
Exercises like these also help our wing fulfill our mission of ‘Preparing Airmen for their worst day at home and abroad’ so that our Barnestormers are equipped to face real-world operations and challenges wherever they are.
“What sets Barnes apart from other units is that everyone has a great, can-do attitude and an eagerness to learn,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Nickerson, ACC Inspector Joint Base Langley-Eustis. “It isn’t easy, but this exercise will prepare them for what they might face down-range.”
104FW leadership was proud of how Barnestormers handled the inspection and exercise.
“This is an excellent exercise in which the entire wing is being strengthened from the highest levels of leadership down to the lowest,” said Mr. Christopher Riga, 104th Fighter Wing Chief of Staff. “I personally am very proud of what I have seen these past few days.”