By Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael J. Kelly, 132nd Wing, Iowa Air National Guard
/ Published March 05, 2018
About 70 airmen with the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Wing deployed here for Exercise Sentry Aloha, Feb. 10-23, to develop their deployment readiness skills alongside their active duty and Hawaii Air National Guard counterparts.
Airmen from civil engineering, emergency management, fire emergency services, communications, security forces, force support squadron and medical all trained in a variety of environments and scenarios with local active duty and guard members.
The emergency management team trained about 466 active duty, National Guard, and Air Force Reserve airmen in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear attack survival skills. The training included proper use of CBRN equipment, simulation of different disaster scenarios, decontamination training and self-aid and buddy care.
“Getting to see the different perspective each instructor brings really helps pinpoint better ways to help people survive, especially those deploying,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rachel Albee, a 132nd Wing emergency management team member.
The emergency management team had access to equipment and facilities unavailable at their home station, which allowed them to effectively train airmen for disaster scenarios. Their efforts were instrumental in deployment readiness of the Hawaii airmen and were greatly appreciated.
“They integrated well with our flight members and provided much needed support in the readiness surge getting airmen deployment-ready,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Kareem Fuertes, the emergency manager for the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing.
Weapons, Medical Training
Instructors from the 132nd Security Forces Squadron’s combat arms training and maintenance team oversaw the weapons training and qualification for deploying Hawaii airmen. The training was conducted in a new, state-of-the-art indoor range, which allowed for a greater diversity of shooting scenarios and allowed for faster qualification time.
“It was great being able to see how it works and talk to the [combat arms training and maintenance] group here to find out the pros, cons and all the maintenance that is needed if we were able to obtain one,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Savannah Page, a combat arms training and maintenance instructor for the 132nd Security Forces Squadron.
The 132nd Medical Group trained on administrative systems and also worked real-world medical operations at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu. The training included a rare hands-on medical evacuation training mission -- the loading and unloading of patients in critical condition from aircraft. The training, which most Air National Guardsmen seldom receive except in deployed locations, presented many challenges that the 132nd Medical Group used to prepare themselves for future missions.
“The biggest obstacle for the training is the unpredictability of the actual flights,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Kelsey Searls. “Aircraft availability, stability of the patients, weather, paperwork; all of it can change the flight times at any moment, making training on actual aircraft and running live missions, sometimes impossible to get during an annual training tour.”
The 132nd Communications Flight worked on a variety of projects on base including inventorying equipment, disposing outdated computer hard drives and tapes as well as prepare underground network cables for use in base operations. They also upgraded the base’s computer systems and software.
“It was great getting to work with new people in a total force integrated environment,” said Air Force Senior Airman Ben Trotter, a spectrum operations technician with the 132nd Communications Flight. “We provided manpower, which organized their assets as well as training for us, which will make us a more efficient communications flight.”
Communications flight airmen disposed of more than 200 computer hard drives, inventoried and processed in about 250 computers, updated the software on 40 computers and fixed about five thousand feet of network cable.
The 132nd Force Support Squadron’s services airmen provided meals at the Hale Aina Dining Facility on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The airmen were able take inventory of the produce and supplies of the dining facility which helped them gain more knowledge of accountability systems.
“Working hand-in-hand with the active duty was rewarding, as was the mutual exchange of ideas and knowledge of the services field, which will make our shop better,” said Chris Newton, the services shift leader for the 132nd Force Support Squadron.
The airmen also helped prepare a special meal for the base in honor of Black History Month. In total, the 132nd Force Support Squadron served about five thousand meals to active duty, guard and reserve airmen. They also conducted physical training tests for about 500 airmen.