By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Months of planning and preparation unfolded into just five days of Condor Crest exercise last week.
“The exercise has to come out of somewhere. We don’t just immediately get thrust into a higher (force protection condition) or just get attacked by a particular group,” said Walberto Lugo, a member of the base’s antiterrorism office and exercise evaluation team member. “That group has to have grievances that can be tracked and lead to certain conclusions. We develop information, very often we make it up based on real-world information, and we develop (an exercise) scenario.”
These scenarios, developed by the more than 75 EET members, kept the base, and a select number of the wing’s 39 geographically separated units, busy for the better part of the week.
Scenarios included active shooters, radiological packages, structure fires, water contaminations, natural disasters and more.
The exercise also included an event out of the ordinary when the Peterson fire department got an exercise call about a small aircraft crash north of Schriever Air Force Base.
“We got the call about 10 or 10:30 (a.m. on Tuesday) that an F-6 went down,” said Cindy Litteral, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron’s fire department deputy chief. “I called for security forces, (public affairs), base safety or wing safety, and an alert photographer.”
The scenario presented multiple challenges including working with multiple agencies such as the 50th Space Wing from Schriever AFB and the Ellicott fire department. “I knew by the time we got out there, the local folks would have gotten the initial response under control,” she said.
Litteral’s task was then to establish control of the scene and set up the mobile emergency operations command post.
The MEOC presented the second challenge. “The winds were pretty strong. I was really worried about the MEOC rolling with the winds,” she said.
Despite all the challenges, the scenario went really well, Litteral said. And the tests kept coming for the fire department. “This is the highest ops tempo I think I’ve seen,” she said.
It wasn’t just the fire department who felt the stress of the scenarios. “I alone had 14 different events (to evaluate),” Lugo said.
The details of how the wing performed couldn’t be divulged, but Lugo said, overall, the wing performed well. “This is my third time as an EET (member), and it was hands down the best one,” he said.
In areas where there was a weakness, suggestions for extra training will be made by the EET. “We give units the freedom to close these out by virtue of opening 101s, which is a self-inspection corrective action. The fundamental purpose is to improve the wing,” he said.
Airmen may still be recovering from last week’s exercise, but plans for this May’s exercise are already in the works. “I have seen a substantial improvement in the way this installation responds to emergencies, and those actions save lives,” Lugo said.