Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wolf Pack defends base during Exercise Beverly Midnight 15-1

by By Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/26/2014 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- The Wolf Pack conducted quarterly effectiveness Exercise Beverly Midnight 15-1 here to demonstrate mission capabilities and ensure Airmen are ready to defend the base at a moment's notice Oct. 20 through 23.

Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing had the opportunity to experience realistic scenarios as they operated in a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive environment, all while responding to ground attacks and theater ballistic missile threats.

"This exercise is unique compared to ones Kunsan [Air Base] has done in the past," said Col. Dennis Curran, 8th Mission Support Group commander. "Because flying missions are not the focus this time, we're really trying to challenge the MSG in this exercise. We own a lot of the support functions that ensure the base runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis, so this is our opportunity to evaluate how well we would transition to defending the base during contingency operations."

Without F-16 Fighting Falcons soaring through the skies to conduct combat sorties, Airmen's ability to survive and operate in defensive mode on the ground was put to the test.

"Since we don't have flying operations right now, we have a chance to focus hard on the supporting agencies across the base," said Maj. Julio Rodriguez, 8th Fighter Wing inspector general. "The scenario we developed has us still in armistice agreements -- we're not going to go to war; we're not going to take hardware north. We're really in a defensive crouching position."

According to Master Sgt. Justin Carlton, 8th FW inspection manager, this exercise was different than what many experienced in the past. Whereas most exercises at Kunsan have a "hot start," this exercise began with a "cold start."

"This exercise started very slow," Carlton said. "We didn't have massive attacks at the start of the exercise. Instead, there were small incidents such as suspicious package deliveries. There were attacks, but they weren't the traditional attacks Kunsan is used to getting during exercises."

Many of the incidents that took place during the exercise forced bystanders who were not necessarily part of a scenario to become responders. In one instance, a simulated improvised explosive device exploded at the base food court.

"The purpose [of the food court incident] was to have a joint medical mass-casualty exercise between Republic of Korea air force and U.S. Forces," Carlton said. "At any time, we could have a medical emergency at this base that would require combined forces from ROKAF and the U.S. to respond together."

To exercise this joint response, ROK forces also collaborated with Wolf Pack defenders to protect the base.

"This is the first exercise at Kunsan where ROK special forces, ROK Army and ROKAF defended the base with us," said Lt. Col. Ian Dinesen, 8th Security Forces Squadron commander. "Exercising together with three different ROK components is significant, because it gave us a chance to fight through language barriers and discover new ways to integrate our tactics."

Through the long hours, Wolf Pack Airmen proved once again their ability to defend the base and accept follow-on forces as they acted in survival mode.

"I'm really proud of what everyone has done," Falcon said. "I know people worked long hours. I know it's been raining, so it hasn't been the best environment. But, the fact is that real-world situations have unpredictable elements. That's why it's great to have the opportunity to test our support capabilities and really make sure each Wolf Pack Airman is on top of their game."

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