Schriever Airmen maintain readiness, sustainability through training
Story by SSgt Matthew Coleman-Foster on 07/10/2019
The 50th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency management flight helpsAirmen remain prepared professionally and personally for any conflict, response or humanitarian action demanding their support, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado,
Tech. Sgt. Sam Norris, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight section chief, said one of his flight’s core task is to ensure Airmen are prepared for deployments.
“Our training provides combat-ready Airmen for the combatant commanders,” he said. “All Schriever Airmen should feel confident in their pre-deployment chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training and be prepared for the deployed environment.”
Staff Sgt. Cameron McFarland, 50th CES training and logistics noncommissioned officer in charge, said Airmen are required to be 100 percent deployable and it is not just limited to training courses like CBRN or self-aid buddy care.
“You have to be ready to deploy in a moment’s notice and if you are not trained as required it can be costly,” he said. “For CBRN, if you are in a high-threat area and you don’t know how to don the equipment properly, don’t know how to render aid, or a number of other things you will not perform well.”
The flight supports all of the 50th Space Wing, conducting thorough CBRN classes and making sure all instructors have the appropriate qualifications.
“We have the typical training slides, but where we place the most emphasis is being able to wear the equipment correctly,” McFarland said. “If you can’t wear the equipment properly, then it is not going to do you any good.”
The flight offers approximately 24 classes a year, sometimes tailoring classes for the 310th Space Wing on the weekends and classes at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“We do not let anything slide during our classes, we stop and check to ensure everyone is wearing the gear appropriately,” MacFarland said. “We can talk CBRN all day, but we have to be vigilant as instructors making sure people know how to put the gear on when it counts.”
Air Force emergency managers go through training at the chemical defense training facility at Fort Leonard Wood, Georgia. During training, EM’s experience real nerve agents in a controlled environment with scientists on hand to make agents and items to counter the agents.
Within the last two years Headquarters Air Force changed the frequency of readiness training from 36 months to 18 months. Shortly after this change, the service goal was set to have 100 percent of the Air Force trained.
According to McFarland, one way the EM flight tries to meet this requirement is through exercises.
“Our flight is looking to increase the frequency of exercises held, especially at a place like Schriever Air Force Base,” McFarland said. “In spite of this, we have to ensure we remain ready.”
For more information on readiness, exercises and CBRN training, contact the 50th CES emergency management flight at 567-3290.