BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts --
The 104th Fighter Wing participated in a 24-hour four day readiness exercise and inspection during the November drill, Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, 2019, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts.
Airmen spent the four days doing their respective jobs wearing Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear while Wing Inspection Teams verified that everyone, from junior enlisted to officer, knew how to properly put on and take off their MOPP gear.
The MOPP gear is comprised of a jacket, pants, rubber gloves and boots, and a gas mask, all of which are supposed to protect Airmen in case of a chemical, biological, radioactive, or nuclear attack.
“We have to be comfortable at doing our jobs in a contested environment,” said Col. Peter T. Green III, 104 FW commander. “If the enemy can slow us down by throwing chemical or biological agents at us, we need to be able to counter that by saying, ‘Yes, but I have the protective gear to be able to continue to do my job.’”
The exercise was aimed at meeting yearly inspection objectives, while also making sure Airmen received training that aligns with Col. Green’s priorities for mission readiness which include individual fitness, medical readiness, and training.
Each Squadron or flight did the training that they needed to, to be comfortable if they have to deploy to an environment where CBRN attacks are a threat, said Green.
Airman Basic Josh Tekpeh, a new Airmen with the Logistics Readiness Squadron, said that the training was very different than what he had done during Basic Military Training. Certain concepts were reinforced but others, such as the importance of accountability and looking out for other Airmen were stressed for the first time, he said.
“You learn that you have to keep your wingman safe,” said Tekpeh.
The readiness exercise helped Airmen build confidence not only in their gear, but also in each other, which helps to strengthen the wing, said Green.
“I need the individuals in the organization to be individually responsible for doing their job to the best of their ability,” said Green. “That’s how we succeed as a wing. The success of this wing is not because we have the planes or the buildings. It’s because of the people.”