Military News

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

51st OSS Airmen help 25th FS pilots 'suit up'

by Staff Sgt. Sara Csurilla
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs


8/6/2013 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- Airmen from the 51st Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment helped pilots from the 25th and 36th Fighter Squadrons don Aircrew Eye and Respiratory Protection equipment as part of Operational Readiness Exercise Beverly Midnight 13-03 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 5.

The pilots practice using the protective equipment to ensure they know how to wear it properly in the event of real world contingencies.

"These pilot's systems that protect them from chemical, biological or radiological hazards are unique because it is able to be integrated into the cockpit allowing them to breathe at altitude, communicate and use existing equipment such as night vision goggles and helmet mounted targeting systems," said Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Redfern, 51st OSS AFE superintendent. "Their AERP gear must also integrate with their ejection seat and parachute harness."

Although the pilots can usually use the buddy system and help their wingman put the gear on, it takes a whole team to properly remove the entire system.

"The AERP is the aircrew's equivalent of MOPP 4," Redfern explained. "(The AERP equipment) is used to protect the pilot in a potential chemical, biological or radiological environment. When worn, the pilot must be systematically "undressed" by AFE technicians."

Once the pilot is fully geared up, plastic bag and all, to face a potentially contaminated environment, they are then carefully processed through a decontamination line. Each pilot is processed one-by-one by being sprayed with water and a bleach solution, coated with charcoal, and systematically undressed by AFE members to reduce decontamination in any way.

"Scenarios like these give our Airmen the opportunity to work with the pilots and ensure that they have confidence in their abilities and in the equipment we provide to them," Redfern said.

This is the fourth ORE this year where Airmen will undergo several different scenarios that will test their ability to defend the base and conduct daily operations during a heightened state of readiness.

"Our AFE Airmen have continually shown a top level of aircrew contamination control area, or ACCA aptitude and commitment," Redfern concluded. "I'm excited for this exercise to continue to show off their skills and expertise."

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