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Readiness inspection provides vital training

Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Stephen Holmes from the 146th Airlift Wing’s Security Forces Squadron examines his weapon inside a modified security checkpoint during a readiness exercise at the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Port Hueneme, California, Nov. 14, 2019.

Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Stephen Holmes from the 146th Airlift Wing’s Security Forces Squadron examines his weapon inside a modified security checkpoint during a readiness exercise at the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Port Hueneme, California, Nov. 14, 2019.

Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. William Allen with the 115th Life Support Squadron dons chemical protection gear during a readiness exercise at the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Port Hueneme, California, Nov. 15, 2019.

Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. William Allen with the 115th Life Support Squadron dons chemical protection gear during a readiness exercise at the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Port Hueneme, California, Nov. 15, 2019.

CHANNEL ISLANDS AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Port Hueneme, Calif. – Members of the 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard, tested their ability to survive and operate in simulated base attack scenarios during a three-day exercise.

A Wing Inspection Team (WIT) provided scenarios and simulations while evaluating the wing's ability to operate. Scenarios included quick and correct responses to simulated CBRN Defense (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense), SOF (Special Operations Forces), and cyberattacks.

"For many wing members, this was their first exposure to this type of scenario, so those functional skills will need time and practice to become refined. That's the true purpose of these exercises," said Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Marc Trujillo, installation emergency manager for the 146 AW.

"I believe we are going to be very capable of performing the primary tasking in a contested, degraded environment," he said. "In every training environment, you discover there are some areas needing improvement, and we have done that, but the exercise was beneficial in demonstrating to new Airmen the application of what we practice every year," said Trujillo.

Trujillo operated as the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) manager, overseeing operations and information flow inside the EOC so leaders could make informed decisions and recommendations to the wing commander.

As the wing's most senior subject matter expert in CBRN, Trujillo also effectively provided critical information to WIT members to ensure realistic scenarios for participants during the November exercise.

"In preparation for the exercise, he gave the WIT a really good idea of what to look for during the inspection," said Air National Guard 2nd Lt. Terri De Guzman, director of inspections for the 146th AW.

"He is a nationally recognized emergency response manager and is a regional chair for our region with decades of experience in the field," De Guzman said. "To say he is a very high-valued asset in regards to training our Airmen is an understatement."

Readiness exercises used to involve multiple wings lasting a week and including around-the-clock operations. However, changes in U.S. Air Force training and evaluations for these exercises shifted around six years ago.

Military bases in the Air National Guard are now expected to perform these exercises annually, giving Trujillo and the Airmen more time to hone their training for the 146 AW's evaluation next November.

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