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Foggy Shores tests base response with multiple scenarios

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Clouse assists Master Sgt. Keith Maddox, 30th Medical Group, with donning a biological and chemical protection suit during a Foggy Shores Exercise scenario here March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angelique Perez)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Clouse assists Master Sgt. Keith Maddox, 30th Medical Group, with donning a biological and chemical protection suit during a Foggy Shores Exercise scenario here March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angelique Perez)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Jared Detter, a clinical psychologist with the 30th Medical Group, briefs the search and rescue team on the psychological after-effects they may have after a mission during the Foggy Shores Exercise here March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angelique Perez)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Jared Detter, a clinical psychologist with the 30th Medical Group, briefs the search and rescue team on the psychological after-effects they may have after a mission during the Foggy Shores Exercise here March 25. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angelique Perez)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- "Exercise Exercise Exercise!"

The phrase seems to be more common as Vandenberg inches closer to its operational readiness inspection in September.

To prepare for the inspection, the base participated in different operational and deployment exercises to include North Star and the recent Foggy Shores which took place March 19-26.

The exercise evaluated Team Vandenberg's ability to protect sensitive information, to respond to a terrorist attack, a plane crash, a confined space event and to complete a pyramid recall. The stream of events is to train Vandenberg for the inspection as well as real-world events.

"Our job is to prepare the 30th Space Wing for anything coming from the Air Force Space Command IG team," said Tech. Sgt. James Haleski, 30th SW Inspector General NCOIC of exercise and inspection. "These scenarios aren't pulled from thin air. They are real experiences that Air Force bases' have had to deal with in the past."

This exercise was unique because of the shift change that the entire base had to experience.

"Units, for the first time in a recent exercise, were staffed for 24 hours a day during the exercise," Sergeant Haleski said. "We want to be responsive at all times during a crisis situation."

Airmen working the day shift experienced a scenario where two mock terrorists in a white sports utility vehicle pulled up to the Solvang Gate and detonated a bomb. The event called on many members of Team V to immediately respond to the incident.

Security forces, Office of Special Investigation, 30th Civil Engineer Fire Department. 30th Explosive Ordinance Disposal and many others showed up to assess, cleanup and secure the area. The event put the base into a force protection condition delta and sent Airmen to a shelter-in-place site, Sergeant Haleski said.

After the shift changes occurred, a pyramid recall tested and evaluated the base's emergency manning ability.

"We wanted to have the recall at night to test Airmen's family care plan," he said. "It is important that an Airman can be free to deploy or work at a moments notice."

Vandenberg's emergency units saw little rest as the night shift responded to a simulated airplane crash that threw the plane's occupants across the base. Units, using GPS to mark locations, had to search for the bodies and possible survivors of the crash, Sergeant Haleski said.

The exercise scenarios prepare, train and evaluate the base's readiness. With the ORI beginning in September, Foggy Shores will be a staple in the near future.

"Foggy Shores allows the base to exercise its ability to work under pressure and respond to scenarios, while continuing to perform the base's amazing space mission," said Col. Steve Tanous, 30th SW commander. "As the inspection draws near, it is important for our Airmen to continue to be prepared both mentally and physically every time they come to work."