MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — For about 3,500 airmen here, it’s time to dust off that chemical mask, review first-aid techniques and get ready to duck.

After seven months without an exercise, the 35th Fighter Wing will test its personnel and planes in simulated combat conditions.

During next week’s Operational Readiness Exercise, the wing will practice its ability to mobilize and deploy combat power, and once at that fictional location, defend it from enemy attack.

The exercise starts Sunday and is expected to wrap up Friday.

“This is the first full ORE since the inspection back in October,” said Maj. Mike Frey, the 35th Fighter Wing’s inspections chief. “It’s a chance for a lot of the new people who have showed up since the last inspection” to participate in a wing exercise.

It’s also the first exercise under the watch of Brig. Gen. Bill Rew, the new wing and base commander who assumed the top spot April 15.

The wing did extremely well in October’s Operational Readiness Inspection, receiving an “excellent” — the second-highest grade, below “perfect” — from Pacific Air Forces inspectors. But in the seven months since that feat, there’s been a lot of personnel turnover, Frey said.

Some base facilities will operate at reduced hours during the exercise, Canfield said. Specifics were not available Wednesday.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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