Airmen simulate deployment to prepare for combat situations
By Airman 1st Class Wesley Carter , 30th Space Wing public affairs
/ Published April 29, 2008
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- "I am an American Airman, I am a warrior, I have answered my nations call."
Being a warrior in a combat situation is something Airmen think about more and more. With that in mind the Vandenberg Exercise Evaluation Team engineered a three-day deployment exercise to test and prepare Airmen on deployment readiness and their warrior ethos April 23-25.
North Star assessed each Airman's ability to survive and function in combat situations. Airmen simulated deploying to Balad Air Base, Iraq. In "Balad" they faced various scenarios that involved sniper fire, small-arms fire, enemy combatants, chemical warfare and domestic issues to which any base is vulnerable.
The exercise is not thrown together overnight. The EET team prepares scenarios weeks in advance.
"We don't cut corners," said Tech. Sgt. James Haleski, 30th Space Wing Inspector General NCOIC of exercise and inspection and an EET leader. "It takes about a month and a half to ensure the mission scenarios and to gather information for a good North Star."
The deployment scenarios are not only meant to simulate the stress of a down-range location, but just as important, they teach Airmen how their jobs operate when deployed, he said.
In order to ensure that each Airman gets the proper training and guidance, the camp is littered with several well-trained EET members marked with bright orange vests.
"Our EET team is made up of 140 well-trained professionals," Sergeant Haleski said. "For every unit that is at North Star, there is at least one EET member from said unit. If an Airman doesn't understand something, this is the time for him to raise his hand and ask."
A significant part of the exercise serves as a refresher in self-aid and buddy care. After each simulated attack, Airmen are called to respond to emergency situations involving fellow Airmen. Whether it is a broken leg or a head wound, Airmen are expected to be able to start treatment with minimal supplies.
"The whole reason for teaching 'self-aid and buddy care' is so that immediate treatment can begin," said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Mitchell Luchansky, the 30th Medical Group flight medicine commander. "In a deployed location, you never know how long it might be before you can get an injured comrade to a medic."
Dr. Luchansky, who is declared a noncombatant by the Law of Armed Conflict, managed the camp's clinic as opposition forces attempted to overcome the base. The scenarios ended with opposition forces attacking the base in high numbers, and every combatant Airman in "Balad" acted in accordance with the Airman's creed by answering the call to fight and win.
The next North Star exercise will begin June 4.