JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM Hawaii --
In late August, 17 Citizen Airmen from the 624th Regional Support Group’s Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, along with Reserve Citizen Airmen from around the country, participated in Exercise Patriot Warrior Silver Flag training at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia.
“Silver Flag training must be completed by CE Airmen every three years to meet readiness requirements,” said Senior Master Sgt. Cris Ildefonso. “The exercise helps to boost the mobility level of the entire team for both wartime and peacetime deployments and requires participants to respond to real-world tasks, problems and scenarios they may face in an austere, real-world environment.”
During the course of a week comprised of 12-hour-long days, participants completed hands-on exercises to encourage and hone critical, real-time thinking and problem-solving skills in a variety of disciplines including heating, ventilation and air conditioning; pest management, public health and safety; aircraft parking; runway and airfield maintenance; mapping and site selection; and construction. Participants also attended classroom lectures and discussions.
“Silver Flag provides vital, hands-on training that showcases how Citizen Airmen can deliver superior technical skills to our Active Duty counterparts so they can rely on us to accomplish any work required at home station or in garrison,” said Master Sgt. Faatupu F. Siimalevai, an entomologist with the 624th RSG’s CES who served as the squadron’s team leader for the exercise. “Our squadron was able to sharpen technical skills and strengthen unit cohesion, while reinforcing our readiness to safely accomplish Air Force mission in potential future mobilizations down range.”
What started as a controlled exercise simulating a real-world encampment escalated to a real-world scenario as Hurricane Ida made its way to Marietta. The impending hurricane required a rapid site breakdown and cleanup – and ended the exercise a day earlier than planned.
Despite the abrupt ending, however, there was still time for awards and accolades – and three members of the 624th Regional Support Group were honored for the work they put in during the week.
Senior Airman Mark Abida from the group’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning shop, Staff Sgt. Davemar Cruz from the electrical shop, and Master Sgt. Siimalevai were commended for their positive attitudes and received certificates for outstanding performance.
They were three of just seven Reserve Citizen Airmen recognized.
“I am incredibly proud that three of the seven award recipients for this exercise were from the 624th Regional Support Group,” said Lt. Col. Rudolph Bartley, CES squadron commander. “Our Pacific Warriors are not only adept at their job duties, they personify our shared value of service over self. Senior Airman Abida, Staff Sgt. Cruz and Master Sgt. Siimalevai are three examples of this commitment and their recent awards are well deserved. I’m grateful for their service to our community – and to our country.”