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Gunfighters Maintain Readiness in Gunslinger 21-05

Four Fireman pull two simulated incapacitated aircrew members from an F-15E Strike Eagle

U.S. Air Force firefighters from the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron simulate an incapacitated pilot rescue during a training exercise on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 7, 2021. The purpose of Phase II training exercises is to test service members ability to survive and operate in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea Prewett)

An Airman Taxis a F-!%E Strike Eagle into a hangar

A U.S. Air Force Airman guides a pilot during a training exercise on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 7, 2021. The Phase II exercise demonstrates the wing’s ability to survive and operate in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea Prewett)

A security Forces Airman talks to a simulated attacker trying to dig under the base fence

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ethan Tatge, 366th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, follows a simulated base intruder during a training exercise on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 6, 2021. Conducting Phase II exercises give commanders the ability to assess and perfect procedures to ensure the wing is ready for deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krista Reed Choate)

Two airmen stand guard at their defensive fighting positions

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alfredo Morales, Staff Sergeant Dusek Scott, and Airman 1st Class Janrick Navarro, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron structural craftsmen, respond to a simulated security breach at their defensive fighting position during a training exercise on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 6, 2021. Phase II exercises demonstrates the wing’s ability to survive and operate in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krista Reed Choate)

Medical Airmen perform simulated triage on a patient

U.S. Air Force medical staff simulate triaging patients during an exercise on Mountain Home Air force Base, Idaho, Oct. 6, 2021. This Phase II exercise demonstrated the wings ability to survive and operate in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Austin Siegel)

Medical Airmen perform simulated triage on a patient

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant James Gray and Senior Airman Angelo Servantev, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron structural craftsmen, respond to a simulated Alarm Blue attack and put on Mission Oriented Protective Posture level 4 gear during a training exercise on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 6, 2021. The purpose of Phase II training exercises is to test service members ability to survive and operate in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea Prewett)

Medical Airmen perform simulated triage on a patient

U.S. Air Force firefighters from the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron participate in a training exercise on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 5, 2021. The purpose of Phase II training exercises is to test service members ability to survive and operate in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krista Reed Choate)

A fireman walking after training

Wesley Beach, a firefighter assigned to the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron, exits the training building after extinguishing a fire as part of exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct 5, 2021. Continuous training prepares firefighters for fast pace decisions and actions that must become second nature to eliminate threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Austin Siegel)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --

The U.S Air Force has many ways of maintaining Airmen's readiness. This usually involves varying training exercises to put Airmen's skills to the test through numerous scenarios. The 366th Fighter Wing Inspector General (IG) spent five months planning the most recent Phase II exercise, Gunslinger 21-05. 

“The purpose of Phase II is to focus on our ability to survive and operate in a contested environment, specifically involving chemical warfare,” said Maj. Matthew Ross, 366th Fighter Wing, director of exercises and inspections. “We want to see how Airmen operate despite having damage to the base, aircraft and personnel, how they overcome those obstacles while continuing to operate our entire mission set and wearing our most restrictive chemical warfare gear.”

During the exercise Airmen across the base responded to simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear explosive incidents. They rehearsed self-aid and buddy-care along with applying other essential combat skills.

“This Phase II we ramped it up quite a bit, the attacks are more aggressive, the chemical agents are more persistent and there are a lot more injects,” Ross said.

The IG and wing inspections team put in a lot of time and effort into planning GS 21-05 to create an integrated exercise scenario that allows each unit the ability to train for their specific duties in situations they wouldn’t normally encounter. 

“Phase II stresses a muscle we don't stress very often,” said Ross. “It gives a realistic scenario for how we expect adversaries to act in contested environments.

Gunfighters practiced defending the base in land, air and cyberspace through several different scenarios. 

“When I took command this summer I believed I was joining a winning team,” said Col. Ernesto DiVittorio, 366 Fighter Wing commander. “The Gunfighter excellence I witnessed throughout this exercise confirms that belief. Despite the many simulated attacks, I was able to visit some of our squadrons and see Gunfighters in action: inspecting the flight line, securing the perimeter, generating aircraft and ensuring decision makers had timely information in order to command and control this combat fighter wing and take the fight to our enemy.”

Security forces guarded the perimeter from simulated ground attacks, suicide attackers, and even people trying to dig under the fence. During these attacks, command and control units advanced their alternate and contingency plans about how the base would continue to synchronize despite intermittent disruptions to communication systems across the base.

“This exercise tested our brand new airman out on the line, trying to turn a wrench in Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) 4, all the way up to the wing commander and his ability to make a decision rather quickly to generate aircraft,” Ross added.

Gunfighters put in a lot of hard work, time, and dedication during the execution of the exercise, but readiness is an ongoing process, and we aren't finished yet.

“I want to thank every Airman for your attention to detail, dedication to our mission, and efforts to increase our lethality,” emphasized DiVittorio. “I look forward to continuing to train for great power competition with Air Combat Command observing our next exercise at the end of the month. I cannot wait for our higher headquarters to witness first-hand what makes Gunfighters so successful!”

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