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Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise

Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise

U.S. Air Froce Senior Airman Max Ritter, 317th Aircraft Maintanence Squadron crew chief applies mock M8 chemical detecting paper to a post at Pope Army Air Field, N.C., Feb. 7, 2018. M8 tape is used to detect chemical agents such as liquid nerve or blister agents. Ritter set up the tape as part of a the Operational Readiness Exercise 18-01, in which, included training for contested chemical enviroments and mission orientated protective posture gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Alexander Guerrero)

Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise

U.S. Airman 1st Class Kyle Heinitz-Peck 317th Aircraft Maintanence Squadron crew chief fills out maintainence forms at Pope Army Air Field, N.C., Feb. 7, 2018. Heinitz-Peck was required to preform his day-to-day tasks, icluding filling out aircraft inspection forms, in varying levels of mission orientated protective posture gear while part of the Operation Readiness Exercise 18-01. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Alexander Guerrero)

Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sergeant Jeremy Day, 317th Aircraft Maintanence Squadron guidance and control craftsman anchors down a plastic cover at Pope Army Air Field, N.C., Feb. 7, 2018. As part of Operational Readiness Exercise 18-01, Day helped place protective plastic tarps over equipment to prevent contamination from simulated chemical attacks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Alexander Guerrero)

Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 317th Airlift Wing, 39th, 40th and 19th Airlift Squadrons don their mission orientated protective posture gear at Pope Army Air Field, N.C., Feb. 8, 2018. All of these units contributed to the Operational Readiness Execise 18-01 and continued to carry out their duties even when encumbered by the bulky MOPP gear after the simulated chemical attacks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Alexander Guerrero)

Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Terrence Dewberry and Senior Airman Kyle Prescaro, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical and enviromental technicians, place inserts into the engine intakes of a C130J Super Hercules at Pope Army Air Field, N.C., Feb. 7, 2018. Dewberry and Prescaro participated in Operational Readiness Exercise 18-01 to support cargo and troop airdrop missions involving members from the 82nd Airborne Division. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Alexander Guerrero)

Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 40th Airlift Squadron guide an airdrop pallet loaded with vehicles into a C130J Super Hercules at Pope Army Air Field, N.C., Feb. 8, 2018. Members from the 40th AS were some of the units that participated in Operational Readiness Execise 18-01, a large part of which was a joint mission between C130 crews and the 82nd Airborne Division to complete multiple cargo and troop airdrops while in and out of varying levels of mission orientated protective posture gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Alexander Guerrero)

Pope Army Air Field, N.C -- Personnel from the 317th Airlift Wing flew from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to take part of the 10-day Large Package Week Exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C. Feb. 3, 2018.

Large Package Week is a joint exercise held every quarterly by the combined efforts of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army to test and measure their skill levels. This year the 317 AW put emphasis on its Full Spectrum Readiness (FSR) to include contested chemical environment training.

“Air Mobility Command has made FSR a priority and wants to make sure we can meet their expectations,” said Lt. Col. Scott Lew, 317th Airlift Wing Operations Group Deputy Commander. “This exercise gives us a chance to try out some of our skills in a different environment other than Dyess Air Force Base.”

The chemical training affects all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the 317 AW. From the mission planning in the operations building to the Airmen turning wrenches on the aircraft; all Airmen have to be able to carry out their part of the mission, no matter what level of Mission Orientated Protective Posture (MOPP) gear they’re wearing.

“We’re doing a lot of MOPP training and practice out here,” said Senior Airman Kyle Prescaro, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Electrical and Environmental Technician. “It’s all to prepare us in case we ever get chemically attacked wherever we deploy or even on U.S. soil. This training lets us show that we can still maintain the plane, even in all this MOPP gear: gas mask, gloves, boots, and all.”

The pilots of the 317th also have to don their MOPP gear, or equivalent flight gear, and still be able to perform their duties while under the additional stress and limiting factors of the equipment.

“This MOPP gear is part of us preparing for any emerging threats in the world,” said Capt. Brian Vos, 40th Airlift Squadron Assistant Chief of Mission Generation. “It’s been about 10 years since I’ve had to wear MOPP gear, so it’s made things a little difficult during the exercise, but it’s good to knock the rust off and get familiar with working in it.”

Because America’s military has focused on operations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia with the type of warfare that takes place in those areas, contested chemical environment training has not been touched on as often as in previous years. This, however, is changing for the 317 AW now that AMC has pushed for more of this training.

“AMCs decision to focus on FSR gives a new way to train,” Lew said. “This is a great opportunity for the 317th to practice its FSR and make sure we have the ability and knowledge to execute those kinds of operations if called upon.”