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Shaw adapts, overcomes during basing exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing participated in an adaptive basing exercise at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range near Wedgefield, South Carolina Dec. 4 through 7.

The exercise, which derived from the directive of Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, provided an opportunity to increase tactical proficiency, hone the ability to rapidly deploy and employ combat airpower, and develop trust and initiative in and between ACC’s leaders.

During the exercise, known as Poinsett Ready Weasel Adaptive Basing Exercise, Airmen constructed a forward operating base, providing themselves with the resources needed to tackle the challenges of a four-day, 24/7 operational exercise. 

At FOB “Valor,” Airmen built facilities to house various units assigned to Shaw AFB.

Throughout the exercise, Airmen experienced various scenarios under the pressure of a wartime environment within an “Airman-made” installation. 

Some challenges Airmen faced included executing their respective duties during continuous mission-oriented protective posture changes, which are pieces of equipment that assist Airmen affected by CBRN threats, and reacting to the chemical and biological attacks by hostile forces outside the FOB. 

In order to prepare for any scenario that may arise in a deployed environment, the Airmen used their chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense knowledge and self-aid buddy care skills. 

“These scenarios provide our Airmen going downrange with experience and muscle memory to act effectively in a deployed environment,” said Dustin Campbell, 20th Fighter Wing self-assessment program manager. “It gives the [Airmen] the opportunity to see what other units do during a deployment and build their team cohesion.”

Campbell went on to say how unit leadership ensured that all events occurred smoothly and on schedule for maximum effect.

Airmen who participated in the exercise performed their core duties as well as gained insight on the potential conflicts they may face in deployed environments and practiced how to properly react. 

“For bioenvironmental situations in a deployed environment, we need to sample nerve agents and chemical agents to assist our wingmen in the installation,” said Airman 1st Class Jackson Gordon, 20th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineer apprentice. “We trained alongside other squadrons taking cover and going through the release stages, helping to build our cohesion.”

Going through the training helps increase muscle memory and ensures Airmen can execute the maneuvers needed to react to any attack, said Gordon. 

Preparing for the future fight is a role every Air Force installation takes seriously. The exercises help organize, train, equip and maintain ACC’s Airmen for rapid deployment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges ahead.