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.”