317th AW completes ATSO exercise

317th AW completes ATSO exercise

U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Gabso, right, 39th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilot, conducts a buddy check on Capt. Seth Westfall, 39th AS C-130J pilot, after putting on mission oriented protective posture gear for an exercise at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 23, 2018. After putting on the MOPP gear, Airmen conduct buddy checks when possible to ensure that they are properly protected. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

317th AW completes ATSO exercise

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Thomas Brawders, 39th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, ties down a ladder inside a C-130J Super Hercules while wearing mission oriented protective posture gear at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 23, 2018. During the 317th Airlift Wing’s ability to survive and operate exercise, Airmen were required to don MOPP gear due to a simulated chemical attack on the airfield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

317th AW completes ATSO exercise

U.S. Air Force Capt. Nicolas Barragan, 39th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilot, pilots the aircraft while wearing aircrew eye and respiratory protection system equipment for an exercise at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 23, 2018. The crew executed a combat offload, which is used in austere locations to quickly offload cargo without forklifts. This is done by removing all restraints on the pallet, applying power and releasing the brakes to allow the cargo to roll out the back of the aircraft. These actions were accomplished as part of a 317th Airlift Wing ability to survive and operate exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

317th AW completes ATSO exercise

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 317th Airlift Wing simulate decontaminating equipment during an exercise before it is loaded onto a C-130J Super Hercules while wearing mission oriented protective posture gear at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 23, 2018. Airmen practiced decontaminating themselves and others prior to being loaded into. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

317th AW completes ATSO exercise

U.S. Air Force Capt. Seth Westfall, left, and Capt. Matthew Gabso, 39th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilots, begin to conduct preflight checks while wearing mission oriented protective posture gear during an exercise that simulated a chemical attack on the airfield at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, May 23, 2018. During the exercise, Airmen were tested on their ability to survive and operate in a simulated chemical exposed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Approximately 60 Airmen assigned to the 317th Airlift Wing participated in a full-scale, simulated chemical warfare exercise on May 23.

The exercise tested Airmen’s ability to survive and operate in a simulated chemical exposed environment while wearing mission oriented protective posture gear.

“We simulated a full-scale chemical attack on the airfield,” said Maj. Ryan McDonald, 40th Airlift Squadron assistant director of operations. “The exercise tested Airmen’s ability to generate, preflight and pilot the aircraft within a chemical environment.”

This was the first in a series of recent exercises that required both pilots in the C-130J Super Hercules to don MOPP gear while flying the aircraft.

“Dexterity was a big challenge we faced while wearing the three sets of gloves required in our gear,” said 1st Lt. Garrett Iapicco, 40th Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot. “To help overcome those challenges, I tried to be patient to get through those circumstances.”

Both air and ground crew relied on their extensive training to focus on essential tasks to ensure each step was accomplished accurately and efficiently while overcoming the challenges of operating in MOPP gear.

“The best way I found to overcome my challenges was to take deep breaths and focus on the tasks I was trying to accomplish,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Villanueva, 40th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “Patience was the biggest key in helping me get things done.”

The exercise gave Airmen a good opportunity to learn and experience a variety of scenarios.

“This training is important because of the tactical nature of the C-130J,” said Major McDonald. “We are worldwide deployable, which includes chemically denied environments. We want our Airmen and equipment to come home safely, as well as bring the fight to our enemies.”