Keeping it real: ORE, WIT test contingency capabilities
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- After undertaking the challenge of rapidly deploying combat-ready forces to Osan AB, Republic of Korea, and measuring Airmen's ability to survive and operate in wartime conditions, exercise Vigilant Ace 16 came to a close at Misawa AB, Nov. 7.
Designed to enhance interoperability across U.S. and ROK Air Forces, the exercise also provided Misawa Airmen the opportunity to demonstrate their capability, effectiveness and efficiency, while validating how expediently wartime functions can be accomplished.
"We're not playing like we're deployed somewhere else anymore; we practice as if Misawa is in the fight and prepare accordingly," said Senior Master Sgt. Dorian Dillon, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy fire chief.
As the 35th Fighter Wing deployed Airmen and aircraft in partnership with other bases throughout Pacific Air Forces, the wing simultaneously exercised its in-place capabilities by working through scenarios and events comparable to those in a wartime environment.
Misawa Airmen were tested with an emergency management exercise, aeromedical evacuation and the deployment of forces and equipment.
"Major events leverage the emergency response of units like the civil engineer squadron, security forces, the fire department and medical," said Master Sgt. Dan Roshio, 35 FW inspector general exercise planner.
While units practice on their own regularly, exercises are the primary chance they have to work together each year.
"One of the most paramount topics of practice during exercises is coordination between agencies," said Dillon. "When the exercise kicks off, all of us come together to execute the mission."
To evaluate how well the wing accomplishes this, the Wing Inspection Team and inspector general office judge the response and procedures of agencies in regards to contingency and emergency situations.
"A third party looks at what the units are doing to validate the work being done," said Roshio. "If we discover we don't have the capability to do something, we can also document it so that commanders can request more supplies, resources or manning."
Larger exercises like Vigilant Ace 16 are able to test a number of specific unit exercise requirements at once, something usually done three to four times a year.
"Air Force instructions specifically require certain exercises to demonstrate capability," Roshio said. "We'll take all those little components and put them into a big exercise."
Moving forward, Roshio foresees further development of the WIT to continue raising the level of realism in exercises. Misawa exercises have transformed from being highly simulated to more realistic in their execution.
"Training the WIT on how to better create scenarios will guide their units to demonstrate those capabilities," Roshio said. "If a scenario isn't accurate, it will fail to connect with the rest of the wing."
With Vigilant Ace 16 concluded, Roshio looks forward to perfecting Misawa AB's mission capabilities.
The Airmen handled their mission very well, but there's always room for improvement and the WIT will ensure they meet expectations each time, said Roshio.