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Emergency Management Airmen suit up at Global Dragon 2019


By Staff Sgt. Kelly Greenwell | 161st Air Refueling Wing | June 7, 2019

PERRY, Ga. – Emergency Management team members held a Level-A Olympics, donning chemical protective gear before participating in various training games during Exercise Global Dragon 2019, June 3, at the Guardian Centers of Georgia, Perry, Georgia.

The event put Airmen’s physical abilities to the test as they attempted different tasks, such as using binoculars to read a hazardous material sign and shooting a basketball into a hoop, all while wearing a cumbersome “Level-A” protective suit.

“Each station is designed to test dexterity and spatial awareness,” said Global Dragon Cadre Tech. Sgt. Christian Asprec. “Simple tasks are a lot harder once you put on those gloves and the mask and all of a sudden there are multiple barriers between you and the sources that you’re working with.”

In addition to gaining individual familiarity with the equipment, Airmen must learn to work with people from other units.

“Attending Global Dragon is huge,” said Master Sgt. Jeff Sharpmack, Global Dragon Emergency Management team lead. “Emergency Management is a small group, so bringing everybody together creates continuity and puts everyone on the same page as far as how we’re training, how we’re working together and how we’re handling everything in real-world situations.”

During Exercise Global Dragon 2019, Airmen from the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and regular Air Force components work together in order to streamline processes and create familiar dialogue.

“I’m active duty, so it’s great getting to work with the Guard and Reserve and to see their take on things,” said Airman 1st Class Samuel Archuleta, 19th Airlift Wing emergency manager. “It’s nice being able to use the different equipment that we don’t have access to on active duty and to train with the various components to sort out any communication differences.”

Sharpmack also emphasized the additional training opportunities available at Global Dragon that many units don’t have the capability to host on their own.

“I think Global Dragon is a one of a kind event; you can’t beat it and you can’t match it,” he said. “The level of instructors that you get, the amount of real stuff that you work with, as far as using radiation and chemicals, we just don’t see it at our home stations.“