NEW CASTLE, Del. – After years of preparation, the 166th Airlift Wing performed the Air Mobility Command graded exercise Operation Gemini to demonstrate its Total Force Readiness and ability to operate overseas.
The exercise spanned the entire Delaware Air National Guard Base. Operation Gemini included a variety of simulated threats, including fires and opposing forces on foot and in the air. There were simulated chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive attacks.
Guard members carried out force protection, medical response, fire elimination and evacuation procedures. They also used Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) Gear to function on base despite the simulated CBRNE attacks.
Security Forces responded to and prevented base breaches.
“Our Security Forces Airmen have been trained to handle a variety of threats, and this exercise affords them the opportunity to showcase their ability to react and respond to threats effectively and to hone their skills to respond to potential threats in the future,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Kranz, 166th AW Security Forces Squadron leader.
The dual status of the Citizen-Airmen in the Air National Guard means that everyone can also draw on their professional experience outside of the military.
“We are looking forward to showcasing our unit’s wealth of knowledge garnered through years of experience in the civilian law enforcement, prior military experience in each of the branches of the Armed Forces and multiple Air Force Security Forces deployments,” Kranz said.
During Operation Gemini, firefighters with the 166th AW Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department combined their knowledge of fire protection and CBRNE threats to respond.
“The fire department will be [tested] on our knowledge of different CBRN MOPP levels and quickly and efficiently exchanging from lower MOPP levels to higher MOPP levels [to the] eventual combination of MOPP 4 and wearing structural firefighting gear,” said Master Sgt. Michael Berth.
For normal firefighting, Guardsmen carry a self-contained breathing apparatus that weighs about 11 pounds, plus 45 pounds of personal protective equipment.
During this simulation, Guardsmen will don their traditional PPE with additional MOPP gear that weighs 15 pounds.
“This difficult and challenging operation is taxing but is required [to maintain] Air Force standards,” Berth said.