186th Practices Rapid Response Skills

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexandria Fulton
  • 186th Air Refueling Wing

KEY FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Miss. - The 186th Air Refueling Wing conducted a Large-Scale Readiness Exercise (LRE) Feb. 28 - March 3 at the Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Mississippi.

The LRE allowed Airmen to demonstrate their ability to operate in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment.

“It’s important to know our strengths and weaknesses to insure we are always mission ready no matter the environment,” Emergency Operations Center Director Lt. Col. Vaughn Threatt, who led the LRE, explained.

During the exercise, each section underwent various levels of simulated threats to evaluate their ability to deploy in the event of a short-notice wartime tasking.

While preforming simulated threats, inspectors from Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the Wing Inspection Team (WIT) observed and assessed Airmen responding to scenario injects.

Lt. Col. James Hamrick, 186th ARW Wing Inspector General, understands how vital exercises are, and he firmly believes that “capabilities not tested, can’t be trusted.”

“These simulations allow our Airmen to train in a real-world environment so when they are in a deployed location, they can rely on their skills and training to accomplish the mission,” said Hamrick.

The WIT evaluated Airmen on multiple scenarios such as their ability to defend the base, conduct maintenance on aircraft, find and rescue downed Airmen, and perform duties while wearing Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear.

It took many Airmen and multiple agencies to pull this week off. Threatt was thrilled to see so many Airmen step up to the task.

“The men and women of Key Field are to be commended for their high level of professionalism and dedication during the LRE,” said Threatt. “We had many different functional areas such as medical, services, civil engineering, security forces, operations, headquarters staff, maintenance, and logistics come together and make the weekend a success.”

The 186th Air Refueling Wing provides over 1,100 personnel and eight KC-135R aircraft to Air Mobility Command for worldwide operations. The Wing also supports domestic counter-drug and emergency response missions as well as overseas combatant commander requirements with an RC-26B aircraft. Additional units at Key Field include the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron, the 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron, and the 186th Air Operations Group.