Wing comes together to train

  • Published
  • By Robert Jankowski
  • 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron

It seems that you can't turn on the radio, television, pick up a newspaper, magazine, or periodical any more without reading about a crisis somewhere. Management is never put more strongly to the test than in a crisis situation.

The 1st Special Operations Wing performed its biannual All Hazards Response Training Feb. 14-18 and exceeded all previous AHRT performances. The exercise was designed to facilitate cooperation and effective response between emergency responders for disasters or major incidents. The objectives were immediate and so were the results.

Agencies from on and off base seized an opportunity to interact, share knowledge and establish mutual understanding that enabled them to refine their coordinated emergency response. Exercise participants included, but were not limited to, members of the medical, legal, law enforcement, fire department, public affairs, logistics, and chaplain career fields.

The attendees participated in three different scenarios. A SARS outbreak that required cooperation from several 1st SOW agencies to "stand up" an isolation and quarantine facility at the Riptide Fitness Center. Exercise participants distributed medications for mass prophylaxis to the base population and responded to a terrorist chemical incident on base.

Adam Abrams, AHRT exercise director, lauded Hurlburt's "outstanding dedication and mission focus" during the culminating exercise.

Col. Daniel Zook, 1st SOW vice commander, praised the efforts of all exercise participants. In the same breath, he urged Hurlburt Airmen not to "rest on our laurels," but to strive for continual improvement and ensure continuity of operations.

Col. Curt Van De Walle, 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander, recognized all first responders in showing unwavering professionalism during exercise operations. He also urged all emergency responders to continue to scrub their processes in order to make a great response even better.

In the current dynamic threat environment, a coordinated military and civilian response is critical to effectively deal with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear incidents like the one exercised. However, one can imagine how such a response can be immensely complicated.

Only by constant practice and refinement can the cooperative abilities of the base and community reach a sustainable level of excellence. While these exercises are sometimes demanding, one is reminded of Gen. George Patton's opinion of training and how important it is: "A pint of sweat saves a gallon of blood."