By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — “Exercise, exercise, exercise,” signaled the beginning of the Condor Crest emergency readiness exercise May 2. Within minutes the main entrance to the 21st Medical Group was crowded with Airmen simulating the symptoms of a chemical attack that occurred in a nearby building.
Condor Crest is a quarterly base exercise that is designed to challenge and provide feedback on the wing’s ability to handle a real-world crisis situation should one occur.
“These exercises are critical in evaluating the base response plans that are already established and to identify any deficiencies in the execution of those plans,” said Maj. Timothy Parker, 21st SW exercise evaluation team chief.
This most recent scenario included a classroom filled with Airmen that were sprayed by a skin irritating chemical from an unknown device concealed in the ceiling. The scenario played out and was monitored by more than 50 EET personnel.
This particular scenario was geared to test the abilities of first responders and infrastructure capabilities to handle a crisis of this nature. It also allowed base emergency response assets to practice working hand-in-hand with their counterparts in order to control and expedite the recovery process of the incident.
“Communication is critical and we have identified some opportunities for improvement,” Parker said about early assessments of the exercise.
Participants in this quarter’s exercise included fire rescue, police, military working dogs, medical and biological. The exercise also included many components that go unseen and play a critical role in coordinating and handling the overall response effort.
One of these components was the wing’s emergency operations center which coordinates the flow of resources both on and off Peterson. The EOC is instrumental in gathering all available information from the event for the commander to make sound and critical decisions.
The exercise was the opportunity for Team Pete to prove it is ready for any challenge that may present itself, and that its Airmen excel at all they do. When the challenge seems overwhelming they fall back on their instilled values and training — and ensure no Airman is ever left behind.