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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 374th Airlift Wing on Tuesday embarked on a weeklong drill partially designed to test preparation for a nuclear, biological or chemical attack in a forward locale, officials said.

The Operational Readiness Exercise, scheduled quarterly by the wing’s inspector general, is a dress rehearsal for the Operational Readiness Inspection, a review conducted periodically by Pacific Air Forces.

Yokota officials initiated 24-hour operations for the exercise, which continues through the weekend and ends Wednesday.

“It assesses how well the base is prepared to react to a nuclear, biological or chemical attack,” said 2nd Lt. Jessica Martin, a Yokota spokeswoman.

“But when we’re preparing for the attacks, we’re simulating that we have deployed to a forward location. We’ve sent troops somewhere else and are anticipating that NBC weapons might be used.”

While the NBC aspect is a critical part of the exercise, personnel also may be evaluated on their ability to tackle a major accident at Yokota, she added.

The Operational Readiness Exercise is often more physically demanding than other exercises throughout the year.

“We react to scenarios that the IG gives us. That could include moving around from building to building — in case an explosion went off somewhere,” Martin said.

“The entire week will be very busy. The wing moved to 24-hour operations, and that means extended work hours for everybody.”

In daytime hours, Martin said, unit movements and exercise scenarios are announced over the basewide public address system.

The wing IG will grade each unit at the end of the exercise, but those who don’t meet standards won’t have to worry about any disciplinary action by Yokota’s leadership.

“They’ll get a score to see where they stand,” Martin said.

“Then, the IG will explain what you did or didn’t do well, and tell you what you need to do to get up to par.”

Yokota officials don’t have a date for the next inspection, she added. Those typically take place once every three years for active-duty personnel, but the schedule can be adjusted by PACAF.


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