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High Rollers conduct Operation Chemical Blackjack exercise

Firefighters from the 152nd Civil Engineer Squadron use the jaws of life to open a car door during Operation Chemical Blackjack Mar. 7, 2021, at the Nevada Air National Guard base in Reno. The three-day exercise was designed to ensure Airmen are ready for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) threats is presented.

Firefighters from the 152nd Civil Engineer Squadron use the jaws of life to open a car door during Operation Chemical Blackjack Mar. 7, 2021, at the Nevada Air National Guard base in Reno. The three-day exercise was designed to ensure Airmen are ready for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) threats is presented.

RENO, Nev. – The 152nd Airlift Wing participated in Operation Chemical Blackjack, a three-day exercise to ensure the Nevada Air National Guard is prepared for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

"This exercise was developed to increase proficiency in wearing chemical protective over-garment as well as providing Airmen an opportunity to accomplish mission-essential tasks in a simulated chemically contaminated environment," said Master Sgt. Timothy Hill. "Maintaining this proficiency is essential in ensuring readiness, force survivability and mission continuation."

Air National Guardsmen from across the base participated in the exercise March 5-7.

"As inspectors general, it's our job to ensure we are exercising all of our Airmen who may be required to answer the nation's call at any moment in time," said Master Sgt. Christa Morter. "Participation in this recurring exercise is essential in the IG's ability to validate whether or not we've adequately trained and prepared our Airmen to survive and operate in a contested, degraded environment. This exercise has allowed Airmen to practice skills that aren't normally utilized during regularly scheduled drills but will be essential upon deployment."

Participants played out a number of scenarios during the exercise to replicate protocol when an enemy has the intent and capability to deploy CBRN weapons.

"Honestly, it's not about how we did or how prepared we are, but identifying what can we do to build on our current level of proficiency," Hill said.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Greiner of the 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office said it was his first time participating as the public affairs representative in the Emergency Operations Center.

"Getting the opportunity to work in the Emergency Operations Center gave me a whole new perspective," Greiner said. "When you're in your work center, you are sheltered from everything else going on around base. It was nice to see that different perspective. It helped me understand the role that public affairs plays in a more strategic light."

Col. Jacob Hammons, 152nd Airlift Wing commander, said the exercise was integral to preparing for Title 10 missions in contested environments.

"As we shift our focus to great power competition, it is more vital than ever that we have the basic skills to survive and operate in environments where our adversaries might utilize chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threats," Hammons said.

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