Personnel from the 27th Security Forces Squadron make their way to a night of reconnaissanc training during last week’s training exervcise that simulated the conditions in a deployed location. (Courtesy photo)
By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
While Clovis residents went about their daily lives last week, the men and women of Cannon Air Force Base were involved in a three-day war. Alarms sounded, gas masks were donned and wounded were shuttled to hospital tents — all in the name of practice.
For three days, airmen worked round-the-clock in 12-hour shifts simulating conditions faced in a deployed location. Cannon engaged in what is called a Phase II exercise, according to Sgt. Craig Seals, base spokesperson.
Seals said the goal is to give personnel an opportunity to apply their specific skills in a real-world scenario, preparing them for what they would face when deployed to combat areas.
Seals said the exercise was conducted satisfactorily and met with Air Force mandates.
Base-wide, participants ranging from food service staff, medical and administrative personnel, bomb loaders, security police and command members all implemented their specific abilities to the exercise, honing their skills through practical application.
Situations simulated included rocket and mortar attacks, improvised explosive devices, and chemical or biological weapon attacks from the enemy.
“The purpose of (the) exercise is for the wing to demonstrate its ability to conduct sustained operations under simulated hostile conditions. (During the exercise,) the base is assumed to be located in Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Beachel Curtis, the 27th Fighter Wing’s plans and inspections chief.
Another common exercise conducted at Cannon is for the process of deploying troops and equipment to be simulated, Seals explained, referred to as a Phase I exercise.
With a focus on mission readiness, Cannon personnel are always working to keep their skills ready for the obligations they may be asked to fill worldwide, Curtis said. Airmen are involved in multiple types of training exercises year-round, at Cannon and abroad, to prepare them for the realities of doing their jobs in a combat situation, he said.
“Even when we are not actively engaged in an exercise, we are performing readiness training by flying sorties and performing our other daily duties,” Curtis said. “Readiness is one of our top priorities — we constantly have personnel from the 27th Fighter Wing deployed to real-world locations around the globe.”