Readiness exercise gives Yokota food for thought
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 374th Airlift Wing inspector general called September’s Operational Readiness Exercise a success but wouldn’t disclose specifics about Yokota’s overall performance or areas needing improvement before 2006’s scheduled evaluation by Pacific Air Forces.
Lt. Col. William Davidson said the Sept. 11-16 drill tested the wing’s wartime mission under various scenarios. It marked the first full-scale base ORE since September 2004. Typhoons or other extenuating factors interrupted two others this year.
Units are assessed in mission areas such as initial response and their ability to survive and operate under adverse conditions. The wing then receives a subjective review and an overall rating, but Davidson declined to release those grades.
As in other exercises, Davidson said, shortcomings were discovered during September’s practice session. “We expected to find a few skills would need to be honed further, especially those areas involving perishable skill sets,” he said. “That expectation was borne out in the ORE but that is exactly why we do exercises.”
Col. Douglas Kreulen, 374th Airlift Wing vice commander, offered a little more insight.
“We learned that we need to improve the flow of information to our associate units and we also learned that we need to practice wearing our chemical protective equipment more,” he said. “We are very good at what we do but we can get a great deal better.”
Davidson said areas requiring attention are identified and recorded as findings in an After Action Report, which keys wing leadership to areas requiring their attention and focus.
Tasks up for review included aeromedical evacuation, realistic C-130 mission profiles, processing Yokota personnel and equipment to deploy, “ability to survive and operate” events, self-aid and buddy-care scenarios and simulated base attacks.
The 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, played a key role during the ORE, Davidson said.
“They provided an invaluable opportunity for our C-130 crews and the 374th Medical Group to respond to the requirement to evacuate patients by air,” he said, and let the 18th AES “refresh their training on the C-130.”
Yokota’s next ORE is slated for Nov. 13-18, while the 10-day Operational Readiness Inspection by PACAF is set for March 12-21.
Yokota’s inspector general identified several outstanding individual performers last month:
• Staff Sgt. Aaron Gagnon and Senior Airman Derrick Gerlich, 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
• 2nd Lt. Sherry Mattson, 374th Contracting Squadron.
• Senior Airman Clifton Kennedy, 374th Security Forces Squadron.
• Staff Sgt. Sean Villagomez, Airman 1st Class Adam Stadler and Yoichi Sudo, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron.
• Master Sgt. Steven Fuentes and Tech. Sgt. Morris Banda, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
• Master Sgt. Janet Lightburn and Staff Sgt. Juan Cortez, 374th Medical Operations Squadron.
• Staff Sgt. William Bussie, 374th Medical Support Squadron.
• 1st Lt. William Atkins, 36th Airlift Squadron.