Arctic Guardian civil engineers train in protective gear

  • Published
  • By David Bedard,
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Airmen of the 176th Civil Engineer Squadron conducted task qualification training in full chemical protective gear during a readiness exercise Oct. 24.

The tasks that civil engineer Airmen accomplish are vital to maintaining the infrastructure and readiness of the entire 176th Wing.

By training in a simulated environment in full mission-oriented protective posture gear, Airmen get valuable experience on how to operate in a hostile environment. The equipment protects the wearer from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards but is not optimal for performing many tasks.

Through this training, Airmen gain valuable feedback on how to accomplish tasks.

“We have an overarching scenario event list and objectives with measures that will be graded,” said Lt. Col. Eric Manewal, 176th Wing director of inspections. “We’ve turned this from grading an event into an exercise by having all of this tied together under a scenario with all the exercise elements present.”

Headquarters Air Force specified tasks across the civil engineer career field to be completed in MOPP gear. By consolidating these tasks into an exercise, the squadron saves thousands of man-hours and increases the quality of feedback to HAF.

“Our core tasks for civil engineering are important, so we need to know how to operate and do these things in chem gear,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Keegan, 176th CES chief enlisted manager. “Rather than just putting this stuff on and completing tasks, we built an exercise out of it. This small task force will have a big impact on the rest of the wing. The better we do to nail this program, the more prepared we are in the event of a CBRN attack.”

Airmen put on their gear during the exercise and completed core tasks while an inspection team member monitored their progress.

Due to the hazardous nature of completing certain CE tasks while wearing MOPP gear, some scenarios stimulated input from participants about how to improve safety. By conducting exercises, the Emergency Management Flight can identify conflicts in safety guidance, which it can relay to HAF.