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CBRN VALEX provides glimpse into future emergency administration coaching > Air Power Materiel Command > Article Show


TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
— The way forward for Air Power emergency administration (EM) coaching is taking form in a distant Utah desert.

In August, greater than 40 EM Airmen participated in a two-week chemical, organic, radiological and nuclear validation train (CBRN VALEX) coaching occasion at Dugway Proving Floor. The VALEX was designed to offer real looking wartime CBRN response coaching.

Specialists from the Air Power Civil Engineer Heart’s Emergency Administration Division at Tyndall Air Power Base, Florida, developed and arranged the occasion.

“For the previous 21 years, we have been closely centered on emergency administration program execution in assist of homeland protection,” mentioned EM Profession Discipline Supervisor Chief Grasp Sgt. Adam Womack. “As we have a look at new advanced threats, we all know our adversaries could have or are pursuing weapon of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities. This train is the foundational footprint to validate that we could be gentle, lean and agile as proficient and competent CBRN specialists working in that atmosphere.”

The 40 individuals and eight cadre members, representing groups from 9 main instructions and the Air Nationwide Guard, spent the primary week in lecture rooms and labs with high consultants studying the chemistry and biology behind CBRN threats.

“One of many issues I really like about this occasion is you’ve got scientists and subject material consultants from the chemical-biological protection enterprise,” mentioned Col. Scott Stanford, AFCEC’s Readiness Directorate chief. “Among the smartest folks on the planet are coaching our Airmen on this atmosphere. It will pay dividends and assist them construct their confidence of their core ability set.”

Throughout week two of VALEX, the Airmen acquired to place what they discovered within the classroom into observe in some distinctive coaching environments. From a small basement bio-weapons lab to a state actor WMD facility, the coaching environments offered by Dugway Proving Floor immersed the groups into hyper-realistic situations. There was even an underground tunnel community solely accessible via a hidden entrance.

“Working within the tunnel was fairly cool,” mentioned Grasp Sgt. Jessica Gluth, EM supervisor on the 496th Air Base Squadron, Morόn Air Base, Spain. “I liked seeing my Airmen modify to that kind of atmosphere. The inventive pondering took place once they confronted completely different challenges making an attempt to find and establish the goal.”

“These are very real looking, difficult situations,” mentioned AFCEC’s Emergency Administration Division Chief Mike Connors. “You have to transfer into a very black cave or hike over a mountain to get to your goal. I believe the Airmen have proven nice enthusiasm, however there have additionally been some actuality checks.”

Donning thick mission-oriented protecting posture tools with desert temperatures hovering over 100 levels took its toll on the Airmen bodily and mentally.

“It has been difficult for them,” mentioned Grasp Sgt. Rick DeLong, EM superintendent, Peterson House Power Base, Colorado, and VALEX Staff 5 lead.
“Placing on that masks and dealing in that atmosphere for hours could be troublesome. In that warmth, you are anticipated to maintain your cognitive capability sturdy sufficient to hit all of the factors and targets such as you’re purported to.”

Along with classroom coaching and discipline workouts, the Airmen noticed demonstrations of next-generation instruments and tools which may be added to EM tools units quickly. One of the crucial anticipated was Spot, a robotic canine platform geared up with CBRN sensors designed to examine probably harmful areas for EM Airmen.
VALEX individuals additionally examined the austere atmosphere reconnaissance surveillance (AERS) response car designed to hold a four-person CBRN crew and tools they should strategy a goal.

“The AERS is the best way of the longer term,” mentioned DeLong. “We’re capable of put all of our tools we have to go downrange on one gentle, agile platform.”

Placing collectively a coaching occasion like VALEX was no simple process for AFCEC’s EM Division.

“VALEX is essentially the most advanced train we have completed as a group within the final 10 or 15 years,” mentioned Connors. “Bringing within the folks, planning the situations, and the logistics of getting tools to Dugway Proving Floor was a large enterprise, however our crew killed it! We have had excellent assist from our Dugway companions and an unimaginable crew of Hammer Adaptive Communications Ingredient specialists.”

The individuals assume the planning hours have definitely paid off. When requested concerning the feedback he is heard from his crew, DeLong smiled.

“The very best coaching I’ve ever obtained in my profession,” he mentioned.

“That is an unimaginable expertise for our profession discipline, and I am actually excited to see the place we’ll go sooner or later,” mentioned Gluth.

AFCEC management is already seeking to construct on VALEX’s success.

“That is the start, not the tip,” mentioned Connors. “We’re asking, ‘how can we do that a number of occasions a yr and probably develop it to the Pacific Air Forces and US Air Forces in Europe theaters?’ I can promise you, VALEX is right here to remain.”

(Editor’s Be aware: Hazzard is the emergency administration operations part supervisor in AFCEC’s Readiness Directorate)

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