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Exercise keeps Airmen deployment ready

Staff Sgt. Kaylon Haynes, 325th Logistics and Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, places a board under a pallet being lowered to the ground on the Tyndall flightline Jan 14. The pallet was brought to the 95th Fighter Squadron as part of an exercise conducted by Tyndall to train and project unrivaled combat air power.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dustin Mullen/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kaylon Haynes, 325th Logistics and Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, places a board under a pallet being lowered to the ground on the Tyndall flightline Jan 14. The pallet was brought to the 95th Fighter Squadron as part of an exercise conducted by Tyndall to train and project unrivaled combat air power. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dustin Mullen/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In the chilly early morning hours, the silence is broken with the sound of sirens. The words, "Exercise, exercise, exercise; alarm red," echo throughout the base as Airmen of the 325th Fighter Wing train for war.

Tyndall conducts six to seven exercises annually to test the full spectrum of readiness.  Crown Royal 15-02 was specifically designed to test and train Airmen to deploy at a moment's notice and operate in a contested environment. 

"Crown Royal 15-02 is the second exercise of this type at Tyndall," said Frank LaBroad, 325th FW exercise planner. "The purpose was to evaluate wing readiness. The Inspector General has seen marked improvements in both deployment and employment phases, such as the efficiency to prepare personnel and aircraft to deploy."

The wing has a team of dedicated professionals called the Wing Inspection Team which worked hard to plan and execute the exercise, LaBroad added.

Airmen prepared their deployment bags, went through a deployment processing line and 'deployed' to a notional location.

"It is the wing's last check on members deploying," said Master Sgt. Jacob Thomas, 325th Force Support Squadron customer support superintendent. "The personnel deployment function line ensures members are eligible to go downrange. Members have all eligibility requirements checked by 325th FSS Military Personnel Section members followed by 325th FW Legal office, 325th Medical Support Group, Chaplain and the Airman and Family Readiness Center."


The deployment line is only the first step for Airmen.  Once 'deployed', exercise participants experienced simulated airfield attacks and responded by donning the correct Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear to protect them from a simulated chemical weapons threat.

"All Airmen need to know how to properly inspect and wear their MOPP gear," said Master Sgt. Francine I. Vincent, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management superintendent. "They need to know how to do their job while in the gear because when they deploy they will be in a medium or high threat area where these attacks may happen.  We make sure they know how to properly wear everything so they will survive through any attacks.  They also need to know how to do their day to day job while wearing the gear."


"It is important to apply the skills gained from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive training in exercises to gain confidence in applying those skills in an actual CBRNE environment," said Master Sgt. Stephanie Hansen, 325th CES Readiness and Emergency Management NCO in charge. "When wearing the mask your vision is limited and wearing the gloves takes away from your dexterity.  This exercise gave them the opportunity to see what type of obstacles they have to overcome and what things they need to adjust in order to get the job done.  A job that may usually only take one hour, could potentially take twice as long when wearing the full gear."


Airmen are becoming more comfortable with MOPP levels, LaBroad added.

The weather added an unexpected level of realism to the scenario. 

"The weather has been a challenge with operations," LaBroad said. "Although, it gives us an opportunity to refine our survivability skills and respond to alarm conditions and simulated attack signals. Airmen have been responding to simulated enemy attacks where they don protective equipment while performing wartime mission skills."

As in all exercises, members of the 325th FW Inspector General and WIT captured deficiencies, recommended improvement areas and strengths, while providing training to exercise participants.

"The purpose of the 325th FW/IG is to document, generate reports, and make sure lessons are learned," LaBroad said. "Our Wing Inspection Team is made up of highly trained and seasoned professionals. They are out inspecting and making on the spot corrections. Additionally, they are documenting strengths and deficiencies."

After the exercise, Airmen returned home from the 'deployed' location, returning the base back to normal operations.

"At end exercise, Tyndall returns to daily operations," LaBroad said. "The WIT goes over lessons learned from the exercise.  After information is disseminated units internalize lessons, learn and apply corrective actions."

As a key provider of Combat Airpower in Air Combat Command, the need for exercises at Tyndall will undoubtedly continue.