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Airmen simulate deployment to prepare for combat situations

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Airmen of the  30th Space Wing stand in formation at the mock decontamination line after a simulated Alarm Green was announced April 24 here during the North Star exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airmen of the 30th Space Wing stand in formation at the mock decontamination line after a simulated Alarm Green was announced April 24 here during the North Star exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Airman 1st Class Brian Cardenas of the 30th Medical Group checks the chlorine level in the "water buffalos" for contamination during the exercise here. Checking chlorine levels in the water tanks ensures the military is meeting environmental standards. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Brian Cardenas of the 30th Medical Group checks the chlorine level in the "water buffalos" for contamination during the exercise here. Checking chlorine levels in the water tanks ensures the military is meeting environmental standards. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Airmen of the 30th Security Forces Squadron escort detainees back to base during the North Star exercise April 23 here.  (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airmen of the 30th Security Forces Squadron escort detainees back to base during the North Star exercise April 23 here. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Airmen of the 30th Security Forces Squadron take cover and scan their sectors while receiving small arms fire from mock opposing forces during the exercise Wednesday. 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.  (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airmen of the 30th Security Forces Squadron take cover and scan their sectors while receiving small arms fire from mock opposing forces during the exercise Wednesday. 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. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Airman 1st Class David Miron of the  30th Civil Engineer Squadron repairs a damaged wire during the North Star exercise April 24 here. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class David Miron of the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron repairs a damaged wire during the North Star exercise April 24 here. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Airman 1st Class Cameron Currie of the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs helps fasten a gas mask during a mock attack at the North Star exercise April 24 here. The exercise's purpose is to prepare Airmen for combat and deployed environments. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Cameron Currie of the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs helps fasten a gas mask during a mock attack at the North Star exercise April 24 here. The exercise's purpose is to prepare Airmen for combat and deployed environments. (U.S. Air Force photo / Senior Airman Christopher Hubenthal)

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.