JACKSON, Miss. – Airmen from the 172nd Airlift Wing participated in large-scale readiness exercise Jan. 27-29, testing their ability to operate in a deployed environment under various threats.
“The LRE is a comprehensive appraisal of the readiness of the wing. This event was an opportunity for our Airmen to work alongside each other while working towards the common goal of preparation and readiness,” said Lt. Col Wyatt Rives, 172nd Airlift Wing’s inspector general.
More than 70 inspectors from Air Mobility Command and the Wing Inspection Team observed and evaluated the Airmen in each career field while they responded to different scenarios over three days.
“We’re conducting this readiness exercise so that we can train to be ready for a deployment,” said Col. Britt Watson, 172nd Airlift Wing commander. “We’re going to see how our Airmen handle a contested environment, whether that’s losing power, attacks from the ground, missiles, or being able to get in and out of chemical protective gear.”
Airmen were evaluated on multiple scenarios, such as their ability to defend the base, deploy aircraft under fire, handle breaches of security, and perform duties while wearing mission-oriented protective posture gear.
“The purpose of the exercise is to assess the current state of readiness of our wing,” said Capt. Roger Wade, 172nd Airlift Wing director of inspections for the Inspector’s General Office.
Wade said one key component tested was mobility under fire because it is a concept that projects forward to the next fight.
Unit effectiveness was challenged as Airmen faced a rigorous, robust schedule of operating in limited conditions without everyday luxuries to help determine how they would approach war.
Rives said a significant portion of the base covering many career fields and skillsets was tested in this integrated training environment.
Smaller scale yearly training events with different objectives prepare Airmen for collective base-wide training to support mission readiness.
Wade said large-scale readiness exercises build confidence among Airmen at every level who are eager and ready to complete the mission.
Readiness exercises continue to strengthen the wing’s mission to constantly improve combat capability to defend the nation and support the state.
“The biggest takeaway is the idea that the exercise has utility,” said Wade. “It’s going to set you up for success in the future fight. If you’re not looking toward that future fight, then this is just a game.”