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North Carolina Air National Guard heightens readiness during expeditionary skills rodeo

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
  • 145th Public Affairs
Gas masks went on, simulated injuries were mended and tourniquets were put in place as over 100 Airmen participated in an Expeditionary Skills Rodeo during September's Unit Training Assembly (UTA) at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Sept. 13, 2015.

"Every three years, Airmen are required to have expeditionary skills training including ATSO (Ability to Survive and Operate), CBRN ( Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) and self-aid buddy care," said Master Sgt. Noah Burgess, 145th Force Support Squadron, base education and training. "The goal for conducting this rodeo is to refresh these skills that are necessary so our Airman are ready to deploy anywhere in the world," said Burgess.

Airmen arrived for training with all Individual Protective Equipment (IPE) and their Airmen's Manual for reference. Carrying their Airman's Manual during this training was essential as situations were played out including how to react when exposed to nerve agents, how to use their decontamination kit and how to implement contamination avoidance techniques in case of CBRN attacks. Airmen also had to be able to recognize unexploded ordnances (UXO's).

During this training each Airmen inspects their gas mask and demonstrates donning their IPE in all Mission-Oriented Protective Postures (MOPP) levels from MOPP Level Ready to MOPP Level Four.

Staff Sgt. Mark Fow, 145th CBRN specialist, said that one of the most important parts of the training is making sure that our Airmen know how to don and doff the new M-50 gas mask and protective suit. "It's important for students to be able to put their protective equipment on properly; they cannot pass unless they demonstrate this to instructors," said Fow.

Eight stations were set up in the hanger providing each Airman the opportunity to participate in hands-on basic lifesaving training scenarios, from dressing wounds and applying tourniquets to establishing breathing airways on simulated patients. All instructions and training were given by base medical and emergency management personnel. 

The ANG Expeditionary Skills Rodeo enhances the readiness and skills needed to meet the challenges of an expeditionary force. This training is used by Airmen who are deploying or preparing for inspections. These skills make up the foundation necessary for all Airmen to function effectively in non-conventional hostile environments.

Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, who is the Installation Emergency Manager for the 145th Airlift Wing, stated that as instructors, most know that it is impossible for a student to remember EVERYTHING that is taught. Therefore if a student comes to training and learns even just a few things, the training has been successful.  Ultimately the goal is to teach students something they didn't know or remind them of something they have forgotten.

"It is not just about meeting a requirement," said Burgess, "It's about how the skills and knowledge obtained during this training may someday help save someone's life."