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Alaska Air National Guardsmen conduct PAR team sweeps during Polar Force

Alaska Air Guardsmen with the 176th Wing conduct par sweeps during the Polar Force exercise on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

An Alaska Air Guardsmen with the 144th Airlift Squadron inspects M9 chemical-agent detection paper after a mock chemical-attack exercise during Polar Force 19-4 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, April 3, 2019. Polar Force evaluates unit combat readiness while fighting in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive protective gear. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

Alaska Air Guardsmen with the 176th Wing conduct par sweeps during the Polar Force exercise on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Alaska Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Micheal Long, 176th Logistics Readiness Squadron, evaluates 176th Wing Air Guardsmen during a April 3, 2019, response to simulated unexploded ordnance at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The evaluation was part of the Polar Force 2019 exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. John Callahan/Released)

Alaska Air Guardsmen with the 176th Wing conduct par sweeps during the Polar Force exercise on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Alaska Air National Guard Lt. Col. Jeffrey Banker, director of operations with the 176th Wing’s 144th Airlift Squadron, performs a buddy check after putting on protective gear during exercise Polar Force 19-4 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, April 3, 2019. Polar Force evaluates unit combat readiness while fighting in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive protective gear. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --

The Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing executed Phase 2 of Polar Force 19, a base-wide exercise that enables Air Guardsmen to test and improve the wing's ability to deploy in combat areas around the Pacific Rim.

During Phase 2, the wing's 144th Airlift Squadron and the U.S. AIr Force's 517th Airlift Squadron coordinated efforts to simulate a joint environment.

Operating as a deployed location near flightline operations, Airmen in both squadrons established a group control center, where the 144th's Lt. Col. Jeffrey Baker acted as the deployed commander.

Once communication was established and the control center operational, the emergency tone over the public address system sounded off, indicating an attack was imminent or in progress and giving Airmen the signal to seek immediate protective shelter.

During the threat of a chemical hazard and or/or unidentified explosives (UXOs), post-attack reconnaissance (PAR) teams are dispatched to sweep a contaminated area and report their findings. Additionally, they look for anyone who may have been injured during an attack and provide medical care if necessary.

Wearing helmets, chemical-protection suits and other combat gear, the wing’s Airmen are evaluated for their ability to successfully execute missions while under attack. But the PAR team members are not alone in their sweeps. A Wing Inspection Team (WIT) member accompanies the team and evaluates their progress during the sweep.

“We were looking for the proper wear of the [chemical] suit and proper self-aid buddy care techniques,” said Master Sgt. Leanne Amodemo, quality assurance manager with the 176th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Evaluations mean results, and even negative results help craft better training for Air Guardsmen.

“Every day, twice a day, we meet to give our inputs and to consolidate our information and see what everyone else is reporting,” Amodemo said. “We can see if [multiple] people are making the same mistakes.”

Air Force chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives training requirements recently increased – from every three years to 18 months. This training is required before arriving in a medium- to high-chemical-threat area and most deployment locations.

More critical and timely training enable Air Guardsmen to respond at a moment’s notice to the call of the president and/or the governor of Alaska.

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