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Airmen participate in North Star deployment exercise

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Master Sgt. Glenn McAlister, 30th Mission Support Squadron first sergeant folds the flag for retreat during a North Star Exercise here March 5. The exercise is a military resource in the Global War on Terrorism.  Airmen engaged in defending, securing terrain and training to be better prepared for deployed base operations. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Master Sgt. Glenn McAlister, 30th Mission Support Squadron first sergeant folds the flag for retreat during a North Star Exercise here March 5. The exercise is a military resource in the Global War on Terrorism. Airmen engaged in defending, securing terrain and training to be better prepared for deployed base operations. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.-- 1st Lt. Andrea Taylor, 30th Space Communications Squadron, waits out a mock chemical attack here March 6 during a North Star exercise.  The exercise is a military resource in the Global War on Terrorism.  Airmen engaged in defending, securing terrain and training to be better prepared for deployed base operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cole Presley)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.-- 1st Lt. Andrea Taylor, 30th Space Communications Squadron, waits out a mock chemical attack here March 6 during a North Star exercise. The exercise is a military resource in the Global War on Terrorism. Airmen engaged in defending, securing terrain and training to be better prepared for deployed base operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Cole Presley)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.--- Airman 1st Class Will Krieger 30th Security Force Squadron provides security March 5 during a Northstar exercise. The exercise is a military resource in the Global War on Terrorism.  Its facilities and occupants engaged in defending, securing terrain and training to be better prepared for deployed base operations. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.--- Airman 1st Class Will Krieger 30th Security Force Squadron provides security March 5 during a North Star exercise. The exercise is a military resource in the Global War on Terrorism. Its facilities and occupants engaged in defending, securing terrain and training to be better prepared for deployed base operations. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Longoria)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Vandenberg Exercise Evaluation Team engineered a three-day deployment exercise to test and prepare Airmen on deployment readiness March 5-7.

North Star assessed each Airman's ability to survive and function in combat situations. Airmen simulated deploying to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. In "Bagram" they faced various scenarios that involved sniper fire, enemy combatants, chemical warfare and domestic issues that any base is vulnerable to.

The exercise, like Rome, wasn't built in a day.

"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. For every unit that is at North Star, there is at least one EET member from said unit," Sergeant Haleski said. "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. Although the enemy forces seemed immune to M-16 fire, Airmen defended the camp and will return soon. The next North Star is scheduled for April.