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 Survive and Operate
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jane Whitehouse, left, evaluates airmen of 128th Air Refueling Wing, during an Ability to Survive and Operate exercise, April 13, 2013, at Gen. Mitchell Airfield, Wis. The training exercise helps prepare airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard for operations in chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear environments. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Wenzel/Released)
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128th ARW Trains to Survive and Operate

Posted 4/17/2013   Updated 4/17/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Jenna Hildebrand
128th ARW/Public Affairs

4/17/2013 - MILWAUKEE -- The 128th Air Refueling Wing conducted Ability to Survive and Operate training on base during their unit training assembly here Apr. 6, 2013.

ATSO training prepares Airmen to secure their installation and continue to do their jobs in the event of nuclear, biological, radiological, or chemical warfare.

During the training, unit members donned their chemical defense equipment and operated under attack conditions. They performed post-attack reconnaissance by reporting chemical contamination, unidentified explosive ordinances and other hazards to their unit control centers. While performing the PAR sweeps, unit members also located personnel casualties and practiced self-aid and buddy care.

The training that the unit members performed is intended to prepare them for upcoming operational readiness exercises, which further prepares the wing for inspections.

"This weekend is setting the foundation for basic skills of survivability and operation," said Lt. Col. Paige Augustino, the wing Exercise Evaluation Team Chief. "We need to protect ourselves and get the base recovered and functioning as soon as possible because our main function is getting the airplanes off the ground."

While most of the unit members practiced ATSO training in and around their squadrons, the aircrews also prepared for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks.

"Aircrew members are training by donning chemical defense equipment equivalent to that of the ground crew, with the exception that their gear is compatible with the airplane," said Senior Master Sgt. Shane Loomis, an Aircrew Flight Equipment technician.

Aircrew Eye and Respiratory Protection Systems can connect to the aircraft oxygen and power supply so aircrew members can fly without getting contaminated in the aircraft. Ground crew support helped the aircrews get to and from the aircraft safely. Afterwards, the ground crew processed the aircrews through a new decontamination system.

This training will improve our members' capabilities and is vital for base survivability, said Augustino.

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