Sabers get ready: Time to put on the war paint
By Master Sgt. Kelley Stewart , 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 29, 2009
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
The 52nd Fighter Wing will hold its first Phase II exercise in two years Aug. 4 -7 to prepare for a NATO Tactical Evaluation in June 2010.
All active-duty Airmen on Spangdahlem Air Base will participate in this exercise in one fashion or another.
Sabers "deployed" for this Phase II will exercise like they're fighting in a real, war-time environment.
"The Air Force is primarily a war-fighting organization, and this is training for what we do real-world," said Maj. Sean Cosden, 52nd FW deputy chief of wing inspections.
People can expect a surge in flying operations and all accompanying missions that come with that, as well as other events the wing inspections office and the exercise evaluation team put them through, like conventional attacks, and chemical, biological and radiological attacks.
There will be a tactical area of responsibility identified for the base. People working in this area will behave and react as if they were in a real, deployed location.
Sabers identified to "deploy" to the TAOR will be on an entry authorization list. People not on this list will not be able to access the TAOR. However, contractors working on the flightline and people having to transit through the TAOR to get to their place of work will be allowed to do so during this exercise.
There will be no parking in the TAOR. People identified as working in the affected area must park their cars in an identified parking area, enter through an entry control point and make their way to their duty location.
Sabers not working inside the TAOR also will have an opportunity to practice their ability-to-survive-and-operate skills during the Phase II.
"The whole base is playing in this exercise," the major said. "The goal is the entire base population gets into the mindset that this is a war-time exercise. The base will have to respond to all alarm conditions and perform ATSO responsibilities."
One of the major things EET members will be looking at is attitude.
"The first thing they will be looking at is a sense of urgency and a mindset that we're at war," Major Cosden said. "The second thing is, of course, safety. Yes -- we have a sense of urgency, but we also need to be doing things safely."
Since this exercise is all about performing in a war-time environment, Sabers need to focus on those core skills required for that environment. People also need to be familiar with the information in their Airman's Manual and ensure they have the latest copy dated March 2009 on their person throughout the exercise.
"(Sabers) don't necessarily need to know (the Airman's Manual) word for word, but they need to know where to find (information) so they can reference it if they don't know the answers to questions or how to perform (certain) duties," Major Cosden said.
According to the 52nd FW leadership, not taking this exercise seriously is not an option. There will be roving teams of EET members who will be visiting locations around the base to ensure every Saber identified as a player is doing what they're supposed to be doing.
"EET has been given the leeway to drop 'dumb kills' on people," he said. "Dumb kills will not be given to people who have not had the training or don't understand what they need to do. They're for people who try to avoid doing what they're supposed to be doing."
All dumb kills will be recorded by the EET and given to the individual's squadron commander. The squadron commander will then have to brief the 52nd FW commander about the incident and what disciplinary action was taken to ensure that Sabers will take the next Phase II more seriously.
With the entire base participating in this exercise, everyone can expect delays at customer-service oriented facilities like the military personnel flight, the post office and the comptroller squadron. Every effort will be made to minimize any impact.
"Retirees, family members and civilian employees can expect post office personnel to not be able to perform their duties during an alarm. Finance will be wearing their gas masks and taking cover under their desks during an attack. The non-players need to understand during that week, they will be faced with delays they didn't anticipate due to the Phase II," the major said.
Active-duty members in uniform coming off their shift and going to another military organization to get something taken care of before heading home must respond to any and all attacks and alarm conditions. Not being at work doesn't exempt a person from responding to alarm conditions or attacks.
The entire base is also going to 24-hour operations for the exercise. Shift schedules will be determined by squadron commanders.
Since wing leadership has put such an emphasis on this exercise, Sabers can look forward to four more Phase II exercises and four Phase I exercises between now and the June TACEVAL. The requirements for the upcoming Phase II exercises will change based on what NATO is going to want to see during their inspection.
"Until we know specifically what NATO wants, every member of this wing must have the mindset that they're going to war," he added.
The wing's leadership has made this Phase II a priority. The time has come for 52nd FW Sabers to put their war paint on.