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Hawaii Civil Engineer Airmen Develop Multi-Capable Skills

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Cabuco,
  • 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard

WAIMANALO, Hawaii - Airmen from the 154th Civil Engineer Squadron performed Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery training at Bellows Air Force Station during exercise Pacific Warriorz 2024.

The primary objective of the April 7 exercise was to conduct movement, beddown and base recovery efforts after a simulated airfield attack to improve readiness and strengthen partnerships in the unit and with participants from the U.S. Air Force’s active and reserve components.

This year, the exercise incorporated and enhanced the Multi-Capable Airmen concept, enabling participants to develop skills beyond their usual professional scope and apply new competencies across various roles.

“We are trying to improve on our mindset to develop multi-capable Airmen by incorporating every participant’s [Air Force Specialty Code, or career field],” said Maj. Raymon LaFleur, exercise director for Pacific Warriorz. 

During the simulated airfield attack, Airmen faced a scenario involving a “suspicious chemical” released into the battlefield. The Emergency Management team, comprising Guardsmen from the 154th CES, reservists from the 624th Regional Support Group, and active-duty service members from the 647th Force Support Squadron, were tested on their response.

“We had pre-established power routes when suspicious chemicals were released,” said Senior Airman Angelblayze Padilla, an emergency management planner from the 154th CES. “We pivoted and performed runner routes to assess what was out there and report back to leadership. The Airmen were directed to don various degrees of mission-oriented protective posture gear in response to the chemical release.”

The exercise bolstered partnerships between the Guardsmen, reservists and active duty service members.

“Drill is often spent catching up with administrative readiness requirements, so we don’t practice as often as our active-duty counterparts with the equipment required to perform the mission,” said Padilla. “It was really nice because they came into the exercise with a lot of experience. They gave us reminders and tips on how to perform and how the equipment works. They had an active-duty Airman who was on top of things all the time. It was a good thing they were with us.”

After the simulated attack, the involvement of trained Airmen during recovery efforts increases the success rate and reduces the time it will take to return friendly aircraft to the fight.

The 154th CES Explosive Ordinance Disposal team also participated in the exercise. It plays a critical role in the RADR mission, clearing impacted areas of ordnance and giving the OK to proceed with airfield repairs.

“It’s very important to train with our counterparts, as we often do downrange,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kareem Fuertes from the 154th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Emergency Management Team. “They train together to develop the cohesiveness required to maximize their performance in the field and get our airframes back into the fight.”