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Wyoming Air Guard Demonstrates Readiness in Exercise

  • Published
  • By Jacqueline Marshall,
  • Joint Force Headquarters - Wyoming National Guard

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The 153rd Airlift Wing demonstrated its ability to transition from peacetime readiness to contingency operations during the Mustang Roller Readiness Exercise at the Wyoming Air National Guard Base May 1-7. 

This exercise tested the unit’s ability to maintain and sustain essential home-station missions and deploy aircraft and Airmen in degraded conditions.

The 153rd Airlift Wing has adopted a new approach to training that emphasizes real-world scenarios to prepare Airmen for combat readiness. 

Earlier this year, Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said this approach was necessary because Airmen and Soldiers are the backbone of the nation’s defense strategy. The Mustang Roller exercise is integral to this strategy, equipping Guardsmen with the skills to face threats.

It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill exercise. Airmen at the 153rd Airlift Wing were not donning gas masks and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense gear. They kicked things up a notch, simulating downed drones, riots and network outages.

Multi-capable Airmen demonstrated they were ready to move from peacetime to contingency operations immediately. Approximately 80 members from the wing deployed to the 152nd Airlift Wing in Reno, Nevada, to continue the exercise.

“The big factor is that this could potentially happen in real life,” says Tech. Sgt. Philip Roybal, logistics planner for the 243rd Air Traffic Control Squadron. “We all hear about the state of the world in the news, and we’re preparing to take on any threat that comes our way.

“This exercise helps solidify our readiness further. We’re used to preparing for conflict elsewhere, but when it comes to our front door, it’s a little bit different. So we’re seeing people think on their toes, making decisions at the lowest level to channel up.”

As the day progressed, the scenarios evolved, testing the Airmen’s ability to navigate security protocols and measures used by military personnel and first responders during missions or in response to a threat.

Not only were Airmen evaluated. The 153rd Wing Inspection Team was also under inspection by the Air Mobility Command inspector general’s team.

“We’re here to watch the watchers and inspect the Wing Inspection Team to ensure they’re capable of inspecting the wing during the exercise,” says Master Sgt. Ryan DeLaughter of the AMC IG team. 

“This exercise is ultimately preparing us for war,” said Col. Barry Deibert, 153rd Airlift Wing commander, during his briefing.
Or, as DeLaughter put it, “We must be ready and ensure that everyone knows what they are doing when it is time to go to war.”

Senior Master Sergeant Jennifer Yack of the 153rd Airlift Wing’s Office of the Inspector General said Mustang Roller was designed to draw inspiration from real-world events. Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, emphasized preparing for potential near-peer threats.

“We wanted to bring that to the home station because it’s where the threat will hit us first,” Yack said. “So much of the exercise focused on the cyber impacts you would see. It also hit on preparing to execute if we go to a war tomorrow.”