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176th Wing hosts mission assurance exercise

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

A team of Airmen assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conduct flight line operations in support of the HH-60G Pave Hawk mission and training requirements —while donning their mission-oriented protective posture gear during exercise Arctic Eagle here Feb. 27, 2020. Airmen tested their skills to successfully generate sorties during simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks on the flight line while being evaluated by wing inspection team leaders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

Alaska Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Jeremy Henry, an aircrew flight equipment technician assigned to the 176th Operations Support Squadron, assists Airmen who check into an entry control point for expeditionary readiness training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Feb. 27, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

A team of Airmen assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conduct flight line operations in support of the HH-60G Pave Hawk mission and training requirements —while donning their mission-oriented protective posture gear during exercise Arctic Eagle here Feb. 27, 2020. Airmen tested their skills to successfully generate sorties during simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks on the flight line while being evaluated by wing inspection team leaders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Daniel Uchtmann, 176th Wing inspector general, helps coordinate and manage the disruption of the computer network across the wing during a simulated cyber attack for exercise Arctic Eagle 2020 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Feb. 24, 2020. Arctic Eagle 2020 tests the Alaska National Guard’s ability to sustain operations in extreme, cold-weather conditions, while executing civil support missions and to facilitate combat readiness through training with federal, state and local agencies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

Alaska Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Paul Martzall, 176th Maintenance Group Quality Assurance superintendent, explains quality assurance practices and procedures for the mission assurance exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb. 25, 2020. As a member of the Wing Inspection Team, Martzall evaluates the effectiveness of established procedures during a contested environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron participate in a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) defense training here Feb. 26, 2020 during exercise Arctic Eagle 2020. The training familiarizes Airmen with the proper procedures to take when under a CBRNE attack. During the aftermath of an attack, 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. (U.S. Air National Guard photos by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Civil Engineer Squadron participate in a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) defense training here Feb. 26, 2020 during exercise Arctic Eagle 2020. The training familiarizes Airmen with the proper procedures to take when under a CBRNE attack. During the aftermath of an attack, 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. (U.S. Air National Guard photos by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

176th Wing Airmen participate in winter mission assurance exercise

A team of Airmen assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron conduct flight line operations in support of the HH-60G Pave Hawk mission and training requirements —while donning their mission-oriented protective posture gear during exercise Arctic Eagle here Feb. 27, 2020. Airmen tested their skills to successfully generate sorties during simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks on the flight line while being evaluated by wing inspection team leaders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Louis Velasco)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --

Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing capped a mission assurance exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb. 28, 2020. 

The five-day exercise tested Airmen’s ability to operate efficiently under various adverse conditions. 

During the course of the exercise, Guardsmen were challenged with different scenarios involving kidnapped personnel, disabled digital communications, lack of heat or power, and chemical weapon attacks. They had to find ways to overcome the obstacles while the wing inspection team gathered data to see how processes can be improved.

“Usually, the wing inspection team is composed of quality-assurance members because we’re good at inspecting,” said Chief Master Sgt. Paul Martzall, 176th Maintenance Group Quality Assurance superintendent. “We’re looking at the effectiveness of programs. Wing commanders need to know where they have vulnerabilities. 

“We’ll take our findings and put them together with the IG to find program vulnerabilities and failures,” Martzall continued. “After that, we can focus future training on those aspects.”

Friendly Guardsmen – members of the blue force –  were tasked with executing plans to counter the attacks. They accomplished this by wearing proper chemical protective gear and following the same procedures as are used in a deployed environment. 

“What you put into this training is what you’ll get out of it,” said Senior Master Sgt. Terry Friend, 176th Maintenance Group blue force participant. “One thing we’re trying to do is make this as realistic as we can. Some of our assets like our C-17 (Globemaster IIIs) and HH-60 (Pave Hawks) are likely to travel to more dangerous places, so we should train our Airmen to prepare for those environments.”

After data was collected post-exercise, the wing’s inspector general, Maj. Daniel Uchtmann, evaluated and reported the wing’s readiness and discipline to the wing commander, Col. Anthony Stratton. 

“To do this, my team developed a full-scale exercise with the correct level of relevance and rigor by simulating a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment,” Uchtmann explained.

During the simulation, the wing generated combat capability despite numerous hindrances meant to trip up Guardsmen – including severely degraded communications and no heat or electrical power – all while attack simulations from both conventional and chemical weapons took place. 

“They quickly overcame the challenges and constantly produced capabilities needed to manage emergencies and defeat our adversaries,” Uchtmann said.

Although a large portion of the wing participated in the mission assurance exercise, many unit members also supported Operations Arctic Eagle, Arctic Edge and ICEX. These exercises took place across Alaska and included players from federal and state agencies as well as Air and Army National Guardsmen from 15 states. 

Through exercises like these, Guardsmen practice their arctic capabilities while enhancing their interoperability with other units and agencies.

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