Ft. Bragg hosts 317th AW for first 2018 exercise
By Staff Sergeant Alexander Guerrero, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 12, 2018
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.”