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Dyess Airmen test rapid response to international threats in “Copper Ring” exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. David Owsianka
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

As small teams train to compete on a contested world stage, Dyess’ 7 Bomb Wing continuously works to refine processes which promote readiness, communication, and rapid response.

Teams of the 7 Bomb Wing recently tested their ability to react to numerous challenges during exercise “Copper Ring” at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 7 to 17, 2021.

 “An elite team is one that always communicates,” says Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th Bomb Wing Commander. “Elite teams communicate and hold each other accountable up, down, and across to provide improvement. It is through refining our communication and implementing feedback that we become great.”

The purpose of Exercise Copper Ring was to evaluate the readiness of Team Dyess and the Airmen’s ability to respond to an insider threat of violence, and generate, load and launch aircraft in support of a higher headquarters tasking in a contested environment.

The training included multiple B-1 take offs amidst simulated attacks on Dyess’ physical and cyber security, an active shooter scenario and a short notice tasking to employ B-1B Lancer aircraft in response to international aggression. The event culminated with the 7th BW commander, Col. Joseph Kramer, flying on crew for the final the in-air refueling exercise at a remote location.

The entire process was monitored closely by the 7th BW inspection team, who routinely assess the effectiveness of base response.

“Exercises like this allow us to practice generating aircraft under a more stressful timeline than your average deployment where you have months to plan and prepare for,” said Nicholas Mizzoni, 7th BW Inspector General Exercise program manager. “Our goal is to identify any problems that could impact our mission during an exercise so they can be resolved ahead of a real-world operation.”

Operational units worked around the clock to take a deep dive on the installation’s response capabilities. Capt Benjamin Piehl, 9th Bomb Squadron chief of weapons and tactics, was one of the key players of this exercise.

“Any readiness exercise is important because it allows us to work on the interoperability between the groups on this base so that we can seamlessly complete each mission when a real-world scenario arises,” Piehl said. “This exercise has helped us focus on what we need to do to get the aircraft downrange and work through the processes to make them smoother for when we actually need them.”

In accordance with the National Defense Strategy to have a highly trained, ready and well-organized force, members of Team Dyess rigorously tested their capabilities during Copper Ring to ensure they can rapidly deploy anywhere, across all domains to defend its interests and to help defend the interests of allies and partners.

“This exercise both showcased and strengthened our Airmen’s ability to be operationally ready, when called upon by our Nation,” Kramer said. “We will continue to train as though we are operating in a contingency environment to ensure Dyess is ready to deploy anytime, anywhere.”