By Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 05, 2016
Twenty F-16s from the 8th Fighter Wing line up for an elephant walk early in the morning on Feb. 3, 2016 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The elephant walk was designed to test the 8 FW's ability to launch aircraft at a moment's notice. (U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson/Released)
Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing conduct a post attack reconnaissance sweep after a simulated ground attack during Beverly Pack 16-1, Feb. 4, 2016. The exercise was designed to test the readiness of Airmen with situations they would potentially encounter in a real-world wartime scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin King/Released)
Wolf Pack Airmen sharpened their ability to survive and operate with various simulated contingency scenarios during Beverly Pack 16-2 here at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 2 through 6.
The exercise scenarios were crafted with an emphasis on readiness.
“We conduct multiple operational readiness exercises every year to hone that edge of readiness,” said Lt. Col. Scott Seigfried 8th Fighter Wing inspector general. “We also conduct the exercise multiple times to accommodate for the high turnover rate of Airmen at Kunsan.”
With most of Kunsan’s Airmen being on one-year tours, that creates a higher turnover rate than the Air Force average. That turnover means high value is placed on educating new Airmen and preparing the wing to be ready at all times.
“We need to constantly exercise to ensure that we are bringing our new folks along and getting them ready to defend the Republic of Korea at a moment’s notice,” Seigfried said.
The scenarios Airmen were tested on throughout the week involved building evacuation operations, ground, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive attacks, unexploded ordinance detection, and self-aid and buddy care techniques.
“We simulated incoming theater ballistic missile attacks, which contained high explosives ,” Seigfried said. “We also exercised against CBRN weapons that would deliver hazardous chemical or biological materials.”
Beverly Pack 16-2’s scenarios allowed Airmen to practice their contingency CBRNE response and readiness levels. Defending the base and responding to CBRNE threats 24/7 allows Airmen to work on their ability to react to a myriad of circumstances under pressure.
“Anytime a human being is under stress, things tend to become a little bit more difficult,” Seigfried said. “You’re thinking about the actual danger or life-threatening situations going on.”
Siegfried said that when Airmen make decisions under pressure, they must ensure the actions they take are almost second-nature.
“Things like putting on a gas mask and donning MOPP gear appropriately need to become a reflex action when a siren goes off,” Seigfried said. “If you stop to think about what you’re doing, you’re also now thinking about the fact that there are incoming missiles that are also life-threatening.”
According to Seigfried, the Wolf Pack has proven its ability to be ready for any situation throughout the exercise.
“Overall, as far as the decisions our Airmen have been making, I think it went very well,” Seigfried said. “I think morale has been fairly high. I’ve gotten a chance to walk around the maintenance, operations, security forces and various other organizations to check out their entry control points.”
The maintenance teams met all their time constraints for generating aircraft, Seigfried said. This was especially impressive, considering they worked around the clock, often out in the elements, in temperatures that often stayed in the teens at night, he added.
“You never know when we’ll get recalled to start generating aircraft,” he said. “That could happen at any time. The mentality of being ready around-the-clock is critical when it comes to maintaining the wing’s ability to stand strong regardless of the circumstances and defend the Republic of Korea.”