Pennsylvania Air National Guard Airmen of the 111th Attack Wing conducted a readiness exercise during an extended drill Sept. 15-17 at Biddle Air National Guard Base to test their ability to support pre-deployment and post-deployment operations.
The exercise is one of two major events that will test the wing this year, along with a capstone inspection in December.
During the exercise, each group and squadron was challenged to perform its duties while evaluated by the 111th ATKW inspector general and wing inspection team. They responded to simulated crises and enemy action at home station and in a deployed scenario.
“I can’t express properly how impressed I was with the robustness and rigorousness of the exercise that the IG put together and the great work they did to coordinate it all with our WIT team,” said Col. Deane Thomey, commander of the 111th ATKW.
Units across the wing worked diligently to set up base functions from scratch, essentially establishing a fully functional deployment location with communications, tents and entry control points as Airmen dealt with simulated crises.
In the home station scenario, the 111th ATKW executed its pre-deployment functions, ensuring that all Airmen were properly equipped before deploying.
“I saw everybody with great attitudes, energized and excited to be part of this exercise, executing the mission despite some of the challenges the scenarios and IG threw at them,” Thomey said.
Scenarios included civilian protesters breaching the gates, weather disasters, chemical attacks, casualties and drone sightings.
“The 111th ATKW did an outstanding job executing this exercise,” said Lt. Col. Steven Good, 111th ATKW inspector general. “We have not done this type of scope or scale of exercise in about 12 or 13 years.”
These inspections ensure the 111th ATKW continuously evaluates its readiness and is prepared to go at a moment’s notice.
“I’m sure we’ll identify some lessons learned and some training that needs to be tightened up,” said Thomey. “But overall, I think the wing is ready to execute the mission tomorrow, if needed.”
Staff Sgt. Timi Jones, 111th Attack Wing