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36 CRG kicks off UCI prep with four-day exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 36th Contingency Response Group recently completed a four day Operational Readiness Exercise in Northwest Field, Guam, from June 4 to June 7.

This exercise kicked off more tactical training and preparation about to ensue for the unit's upcoming unit compliance inspection in May of next year.

"The primary purpose of this particular exercise is to practice skills that we haven't used in a while, namely the ability to survive and operate in an austere environment," said Lt. Col. Michael Black, 36th Mobility Response Squadron commander. "This would help us prepare for our upcoming UCI next May and be ready when called to take on our war time mission."

The exercise starts off with two full tactical training days, where Airmen practice force protection, mission-oriented protective posture and self-aid and buddy care, among other expeditionary training, then tackle two more days of practical application.

"The application part is where we can take all those different skill sets we've learned these past few days and wrap them up into a very full schedule," said Lt. Col. Bill Percival, 36 MRS director of operations. "This will give the Airmen the confidence that they can put it all together."

Aside from being able to apply the tactical skills that they have learned during training, Senior Master Sgt. Rick Schlachter, 736th Security Forces Squadron senior enlisted advisor to the commander, said that the beauty of this kind of exercise is that the Airmen get to see how everyone fits into the big picture of the CRG.

Despite the teamwork, Sergeant Schlachter said that they were still faced with some obstacles in the field. One of their biggest challenges is that there were a lot of new people in the exercise still learning about the CRG: the mission, the tactics, the procedures and getting up to speed in an exercise environment.

"The CRG is unique," said Sergeant Schlachter. "I have been in the Air Force for 21 years and no other assignment has been like the CRG. This entire unit is designed to pick up on a moment's notice and execute an air base opening operation. That usually takes people out of their usual comfort zones. We have to constantly prepare for future missions and be ready to go on a 12-hour notice."

In preparation for both missions and the UCI, the 36 CRG is going to "beef up" their tactical training opportunities and aims to have a full-blown ORE at least once a quarter, if not more.

"My expectation is that the Airmen will meet any challenges they would face," said Colonel Percival. "We also expect them to gain an appreciation of all the different skill sets that come with being part of the CRG - the tactical skill sets that they need to be proficient in that would help them - not only down range, but also in the Pacific Command Area of Responsibility."

Colonel Black said that, so far, they have met their training objectives. All the units under the CRG have come together and overcome the challenges of the heat and the environment.

"They have been performing as expected because I expect nothing but great things from them," he said.
"Outstanding," said Colonel Percival, also referring to the Airmen of the 36 CRG. "They are doing a phenomenal job. Motivated group, they get things done. You give them a challenge they'll ask for more. It's an absolute pleasure to see them in action."

With this exercise drawn to a close, the 36 CRG is continuously working on mission readiness, fully aware of their responsibilities in the region.

"Clearly the pacific theater has become an area of focus on the global stage," said Colonel Black. "As far as the 36th Wing and the 36 CRG go, we have a role to perform in the theater. It is important that we exercise the spectrum of skills that we will need for our air base opening and expeditionary missions, skills that all the units of the CRG should endeavor to excel at."

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