ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Airmen from the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron got the opportunity to increase their readiness to perform wartime taskings during contingency training here, Dec. 6, 2018.
This was an effort started by the Air Education and Training Command to increase the Air Force’s capability as a warfighting force. As part of the Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force, or BEEF, training, personnel across the squadron accomplished their primary duties while wearing Mission Orientated Protective Posture (MOPP) gear.
“Essentially, we had our members perform like they were in a wartime environment, completely different from peacetime operations,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. David Salser, 97th CES Prime BEEF manager. “Wartime procedures, you would perform while deployed, involve thinking about the situation in order to tactfully respond with the correct solution to ensure our members stay alive.”
This training was enacted by approximately 70 members of the 97th CES from different units like the command and control operations management, fire department, emergency management, engineer assistance, heavy equipment, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, pest management, power productions, structures and electronics water fuel system maintenance.
“Everybody knows how to put on MOPP gear, but it’s another story to perform primary duties in them,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Thomas, 97th CES commander. “Performing duties while in MOPP gear is not something that can be taught in a classroom. If Airmen are prepared for whatever comes their way, we have properly trained and deployed them as Airman Warriors.”
The members who oversaw this training were the Prime BEEF unit, who ensure that the Airmen of the 97th CES are capable of performing their duties in any and every environment.
“We need to make sure our Airmen are trusting in their skills, equipment and abilities,” said Thomas. “Making sure personnel are ready for the combat environment is one of my main priorities as a commander because nothing is worse than not knowing what to do, especially in a dangerous situation.”
Once a month, readiness training occurs for the 97th CES. While this was one of their bigger training sessions, training in the future will continue to mirror the objectives of the exercise enacted by Prime BEEF. The wartime environment training will also be enacted by other squadrons around the base.
“This training was also to prepare our members for the base-wide training that is in the works,” said Salser. “That way as an entire base we are more prepared for not if, but when we all deploy to a wartime location.”