By Tech. Sgt. Stacy Foster
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Tornados touch down, a traffic accident results in a fuel spill, an explosion rocks the walls of an office, and you were just having your morning coffee.
These exercise scenarios and more are becoming commonplace for the men and women of the 50th Space Wing as they prepare not just for an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection, but for the stresses of an increased operations tempo.
“We need to train everyone how to respond to emergencies, not just our first responders,” said Lt. Col. Marc Peterson, Chief of Wing Plans and Programs. “It’s not always going to be a paramedic, fireman or security forces member arriving first, so we need everyone to be ready.”
Colonel Peterson said the wing began this new focus after Col. Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing commander, directed the wing exercise program to shift from the Inspector General’s office to the Wing Plans and Programs office.
“We need to break it down and train buildings instead of bases,”said Colonel Peterson. “The ability for building occupants to correctly respond to a natural disaster, suspicious object or active shooter, for example, equates to lives saved.”
Not only does the increased rate of exercise scenarios aid in preparing personnel to respond to emergencies, it also increases the ability for the wing to assess itself.
“50 SW leadership has implemented a concerted effort to ensure we identify our weaknesses and put our full effort into correcting the processes that lead to our noted deficiencies,” Colonel Peterson said. “We also need to show the American people that we are good stewards of our nation’s military resources.”
The responsibility of the wing exercise program, monitoring the self inspection program and tracking the readiness and compliance level of the wing doesn’t fall solely on the Plans and Programs office. The wing depends on more than 150 subject matter experts from across the wing who make up the Exercise Evaluation Team.
“They(the EET) form the heart and soul of our exercise team and put the rigor into our scenarios that dig deep and require cross-communication between multiple units and agencies on and off our installation,” said Colonel Peterson.
Maj. Armon Lansing, 50th Operations Group, is an EET member who assists the Wing Plans and Programs office with exercise planning and execution.
“During this preparation period we want to maintain our readiness to respond to any contingency situation,” Major Lansing said. “The exercise events we’ve seen so far will hopefully serve to prepare the wing for real world threats we could possibly face someday.”