111th ATKW conducts readiness exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timi Jones
  • 111th Attack Wing

Airmen of the 111th Attack Wing took part in a readiness exercise during an extended drill held Sept. 15-17 at Biddle Air National Guard Base to test the organization's capabilities to support pre-deployment and post-deployment operations. The exercise is one of two major events that will test the Wing this year, along with a capstone inspection scheduled for December 2022.

During the exercise, each group and squadron was challenged to effectively perform its duties and was evaluated by the 111th ATKW Inspector General and Wing Inspection Team on their ability to respond accordingly to simulated crisis events and enemy action both at home station and in a deployed scenario, testing the 111th ATKW's preparedness to respond to multiple potential issues they would face supporting real-world operations.

“I can’t express properly how impressed I was with the robustness and rigorousness of the exercise that the IG put together and the great work they did to coordinate it all with our WIT team — their presence across the base, long hours documenting all of the lessons learned from the exercise,” said Col. Deane Thomey, commander of the 111th ATKW.

Collaboratively, units across the Wing worked diligently to set up all base functions from scratch, essentially setting up a simulated fully-functional deployment location - named Base X. Communications were set up allowing for the transmission of information; tents were erected and used to house all operations such as medical, finance, dining, etc.; entry control points were installed and manned for protection; and all of these actions were completed as Airmen were actively being met with simulated crises.

In the home station scenario, the 111th ATKW executed its pre-deployment functions ensuring that all Airmen were properly equipped prior to deploying.

“I saw everybody with great attitudes, energized and excited to be part of this exercise, executing the mission despite some of the challenges the scenarios and IG threw at them,” said Thomey.

Airmen were faced with scenarios such as civilian protestors breaching the gates, weather disasters, chemical attacks, casualties, and drone sightings. They were then evaluated on their ability to properly respond or react.

“The 111th ATKW did an outstanding job executing this exercise,” said Lt. Col. Steven Good, 111th ATKW Inspector General. “We have not done this type of scope or scale of exercise in about 12 or 13 years.”

These types of inspections ensure that the 111th ATKW is continuously evaluating its readiness and is prepared to go at a moment’s notice.

“I’m sure we’ll identify some lessons learned and some training that needs to be tightened up,” said Thomey. “But overall, I think the Wing is ready to execute the mission tomorrow, if needed.”