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Members of Team Andersen receive advice from Senior Airman Adrianna Mercado, 36th Security Forces Exercise Evaluation Team member, here Oct. 7. The Airmen are reviewing the Airman’s Manual to check and review findings on simulated M-8 paper during an Operational Readiness Exercise here.(U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Carlin Leslie)
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MOPP implemented in ORE

Posted 10/12/2011   Updated 10/12/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman Basic Anthony Jennings
36th Wing Public Affairs

10/12/2011 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Team Andersen recently completed 2011's first Operational Readiness Exercise here Oct. 7.

The week-long exercise tested Team Andersen's Ability To Survive and Operate (ATSO) in simulated wartime contingencies while fulfilling their primary duty; providing the President of the United States sovereign options to decisively employ airpower across the entire spectrum of engagement.

"We stressed our ability to fight-in-place, survive mission denial tactics by the 'bad guy' and continued to operate," said Brig. Gen. John Doucette, 36th Wing commander. "Our 'exercise play area,' historically confined to the flight line and industrial areas, expanded into the main base proper. We did this in an attempt to educate everyone on proper response actions to adverse scenarios as well as find out where we need to concentrate our resources to improve our warfighting and ATSO capabilities."

The week was full of Andersen firsts. Foremost this was also the first time all Airmen on base donned MOPP gear for the ATSO scenarios.

Mission Oriented Protective Posture, or MOPP, describes the protective equipment servicemembers use in a toxic environment during a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear strike. The protective equipment includes the gas mask, mask carrier, the Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST), gloves and overboots.

"This was the first time the base as a whole participated in the ATSO scenario," said Maj. Bruce Murren, 36th Wing Inspector General. "In the past, it was limited to a small group of personnel from across the Wing in a selected area of the base. Logistics was a factor this time around. The 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron needed to issue equipment to the entire 36th Wing for the ATSO scenarios."

The multiple mission sets, such as deploying the 36th Contingency Response Group, conducting Continuous Bomber Presence and protecting base assets from terrorist attack, create real-world challenges for the Airmen who are expected to respond under pressure.

"Scenarios covered day-to-day operations and incidents that may arise based on them, such as a building fire and chemical spill," Major Murren said. "We also had scenarios that focused on contingency operations involving receiving and deploying Airmen. Every Airman has the potential to deploy into harm's way and needs to be able to respond accordingly."

Lessons learned from the exercise will be applied in subsequent exercises and implemented to guarantee each Airman's ability to assess and appropriately react during contingencies, as well as diagnose any weak points in operational procedure.
Because this is the first time many servicemembers have donned MOPP gear, in some cases since basic military training, safety was a major concern.

"The number one priority going into any exercise is safety," Major Murren said. "The days get long and it is hot. People had their required personal protective equipment and stayed hydrated. Hydration was a key factor since many folks were wearing MOPP gear that havn't done so in the past. There were no serious injuries or equipment damage, so people stayed safety conscious."

Despite the multiple challenges of implementing an exercise of this magnitude for the first time in an installations history, base leadership was satisfied with Team Andersen's 'Ability To Survive and Operate' capabilities.

"Considering this is the first time in the installation's history to have Mission Oriented Protective Posture's implemented in the exercise, our Airmen performed extremely well and adapted to every scenario," said General Doucette. "They had the right attitude and despite having to operate in full MOPP gear, they continuously showed a sense of urgency."

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