Thursday, October 10, 2013

ISRG locks in, trains for wartime operations

by 1st Lt. Kay M. Nissen
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/9/2013 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- More than 600 intelligence Airmen participated in a 24-hour lock-in training event at the Korea Combat Operations Intelligence Center here Oct. 3 and 4.

The training required Airmen of the 694th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group to practice wartime operations while locked into their workstation overnight.

"We're going to focus on intelligence oversight training ... one of our goals is to have 100 percent of available people to go through [contingency] training in a 24-hour period," said Capt. Kristian Thane, 694th ISRG Plans and Programs flight commander. "The end goal of this training is that we want everybody to have the big picture. If you give them (Airmen) the big picture of what we are trying to do ...there's a good chance they will come up with good ideas, better ways of accomplishing the mission."

Prior to 2013, the lock-in training event was not in effect for approximately eight years. Now the 694th ISRG requires Airmen to prepare for overnight training within the walls of the KCOIC every other month.

"We decided we have to reenergize training. We've got to be good not only at what we do during day-to-day operations - we've got to be good at what we do if a conflict or crisis breaks out," said Col. Shane Hamilton, 694th ISRG commander. "It's hard what we do inside [the KCOIC], we really push our Airmen to max perform ... they have taken to it like fish to water."

With two previous lock-in training events this year, 694th ISRG Airmen were able to identify potential improvements in their procedures and tailor the event to meet the requirements of contingency operations.

"As a group, we really are a self-contained entity. Once our blast doors shut, we're really an island. That takes a special kind of work for our Airman," said Hamilton. "Not only are they really good at their intel job, every Airman inside has also got other responsibilities that they have to fulfill."

The training participants practiced skills to include contamination control procedures, mission oriented protective posture gear driving, and individual preparations for sustained contingency operations.

"One of the advantages of the lock-in is just getting people into that mindset that we might have to be here for an extended period of time during an actual war," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Rocheleau, 6th Intelligence Squadron intelligence analyst."[We] need to get people out of their comfort zone, and get them to realize that they might be uncomfortable, they might be tired, however there's still a job that needs to get done. It's still our duty to get it done."

The mission of the 694th ISRG is to provide continuous armistice indications and warnings, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in support of the Republic of Korea.

"What is important to me is how hard our Airmen work every single day. This KCOIC and our mission is 24/7/365 days a year," said Hamilton. "There's not a single day that goes on that our Airmen are not doing it; there's not a single minute that our Airmen are not on mission doing what they can to support the objectives of USFK (U.S. Forces Korea) and 7th Air Force here on the peninsula."

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