Excercise prepares Vandenberg Airmen for deployment Published Aug. 29, 2007 By Airman 1st Class Wesley Carter 30th Space Wing Public Affairs VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Approximately 93 Airmen representing almost every squadron on base deployed Aug. 22 to an off-base location for a North Star field training exercise. "The purpose of North Star is to train like we fight," said Capt. Jennifer Holthaus, 30th Space Wing IG chief of inspection exercises. "When we are deployed, we need to be prepared for whatever is thrown at us." The deployed Airmen completed a four-hour course before the evaluation started. Participants were given demonstrations on how to move under fire, weapons familiarization and self-aid and buddy care. After the demonstration training, the evaluation began and the Airmen set up camp and began engaging in scenarios. "This is an exercise that we take very seriously. Things that Airmen learn here could potentially save lives in a deployed location," Captain Holthaus said. "ATSO," said Sam Treat, 30th Space Wing Inspector General evaluations and inspections specialist. "The ability to survive and operate, that's what North Star is all about." The Airmen in the exercise experienced mortar attacks, small ground forces attacks, enemy prisoner of war, and other psychological warfare. The exercise is not just a chance for Airmen to play war, but a real learning experience. "We want the Airmen to be able to use muscle memory when they are deployed," said Mr. Treat. "The scenarios we throw at them are all covered in the Airman's Manual." "This exercise was unique in that we had a very young group," he said. "A lot of the Airmen have yet to deploy." Training exercises like North Star not only allow the wing commander the ability to see how combat ready the wing is, but they are also mandated through Air Force Instruction 10-403. Every unit training code has to annually participate in an evaluation to ensure that its members are ready for deployment, said Mr. Treat. This exercise shows us the areas that Vandenberg needs to work on to better prepare Airmen for further air expeditionary deployments. As the Air Force moves to a more combat oriented force, exercises like North Star will become more important to achieve the overall mission of the Air Force to fly, fight and win. The next North Star exercise will be Dec. 12-14.