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    Above PAR: How one team demonstrates readiness

    Tools of the PAR Trade

    Photo By Airman 1st Class Kylee Warren | Some of the equipment used for a PAR sweep during a readiness exercise at the Wyoming...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Kylee Warren 

    153rd Airlift Wing

    “Attention on Base,” a loud static-coated voice echoed over the intercom. “Alarm Red, Alarm Red, MOPP Level 4.”

    A strobe of light flickered from above. Lights went off, doors slammed down the hallway, and airmen hustled around their darkened workspace to don black gas masks and matching rubber gloves.

    After a long wait and two more announcements, three individuals ushered their way down a corridor. They collected a bag of supplies, passed two armed guards and exited through the double doors. Once in the smoky Cheyenne atmosphere, this PAR team looked for clues to tell them what caused the attack and which threats still lingered in the air.

    The attack wasn’t real-world, but instead a simulation during a 5-day military exercise at the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153D Airlift Wing in Cheyenne. The MOPP, or mission-oriented protective posture, alarm gave a chance for airmen to get experience putting on shielding equipment so they would be ready during an actual attack. Luckily, real-world Cheyenne was safe. The smoke hazing the air resulted from distant forest fires and not the remnants of a real attack.

    Even though there was no real-world threat, the PAR team served one of many essential deployment functions as if the attack really happened.

    “PAR, or post-attack reconnaissance, is important because it is the pre-emptive response to ensure the safety of the base after the attack,” said 2nd. Lt. Lindsey Johnson, Medical Service Corps Officer for the 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. Johnson was tasked as one of three airmen responsible for serving the primary PAR team for this exercise.

    Before the exercise, the PAR team received specialized training. The team then performed pre-attack actions to familiarize themselves with the area they would survey after an attack. They accounted for equipment or vehicles along their route, and they cleared hazards and any object that might be mistaken for ordnance. Finally, they set up materials that detected the nature of the attack.

    After any attack, the PAR team must perform its functions before the base can get back to work.

    “A thorough PAR sweep allows the base to safely return to operations, so it’s important to do our job quickly and thoroughly,” said Technical Sergeant Sterling Law, an Aeromedical Technician with the 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron who served on the PAR team.

    Law said that the field data also informs key decision-makers on how to respond to the attack and protect the base.

    “Information needs to be relayed to everyone safely,” said Technical Sergeant Andrew Chester, a Medical Administrator for the 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. Chester performed key communications for the PAR team during field investigations.

    “The entire base is depending on you to do your job and you must look out for what can harm your base, whether it be environmental contamination or an improvised explosive device,” Chester said. “It may seem trivial during an exercise, but in reality, it would be critical.”

    The PAR team demonstrated their readiness effectively, even when they were met with the unexpected. In one post-attack scenario, the PAR team encountered a vehicle that was not present during their pre-attack sweep.

    “It was strange trying to handle that situation,” Johnson said. “In a real-world deployment environment, the vehicle could have been contaminated or filled with explosives.”

    The team reported the vehicle’s presence to base decision-makers, stood back and waited in the field for further instruction, Johnson said.

    While this was only an exercise, it also simulated the actions any airman might be tasked to perform in the event of a real-world attack, Johnson said.

    “It’s easy to think ‘well, this is an exercise,’ or get frustrated, but the reality is this is training that needs to be taken seriously,” Johnson said. “You don’t know if you are going to be on a PAR team someday, and you need to know how to act to ensure the safety of all.”

    Like so many teams at the 153D, the PAR team demonstrated that they were ready to perform in their jobs, communicate and relay information that may save lives in a real-world scenario. They proved they were more prepared to act in a deployed environment.

    The PAR team’s performance was just one example of how many groups across the Wyoming Air National Guard demonstrated their capabilities to operate in a deployment scenario during enemy threats and attacks.

    “The purpose (of this exercise) is to look at how we survive and operate in an environment that isn’t always conducive to surviving and operating,” said Colonel Barry Deibert, the Commander of the 153D Airlift Wing.

    Airmen across all functions were asked to demonstrate their jobs despite the distraction of a simulated wartime situation. They went into the exercise knowing how to react, even if they did not know what to expect.

    The whole point of the exercise is preparedness, Johnson said. In the case of the PAR team, that point was achieved.

    “We are more confident if something were to happen after this exercise,” Chester said as the exercise came to a close.

    Col. Deibert also acknowledged his gratitude for the airmen across the wing who worked hard to demonstrate their readiness during the exercise.

    “I appreciate this wing,” Deibert said. “I’m in awe every day when I can see what we can do, and I wish us the best with the future.”



    Date Taken: 08.09.2021
    Date Posted: 09.07.2021 15:48
    Story ID: 404637
    Location: CHEYENNE, WY, US 

    Web Views: 40
    Downloads: 0