June Super UTA drills Pacific Warriors on readiness

  • Published
  • By 2Lt Mary Andom
  • 624th Regional Support Group

On a thick, muggy June morning in Hawaii, 624th Regional Support Group Reserve Citizen Airmen suited up in their mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear. Fully outfitted, a team of two made their way to a Wing Inspection Team (WIT) lead, identified by a highlighter-yellow vest.

“You are now in MOPP 4,” the WIT lead said. Holding a timer he counts. “One second, two seconds, three seconds...”

In a race against time, the scramble begins. Both Airmen simultaneously drop to their knees, don their mask, and ensure an air-tight seal. With seconds to spare, they perform their buddy checks.

Preparing combat-ready Citizen Airmen requires a focus on readiness. This means training like we fight. The 624th Regional Support Group in Hawaii and Guam did just that during the June Super Unit Training Assembly, held June 2-5 and June 9-12.

“We have intentionally blocked two UTAs together to allow for more meaningful and targeted readiness training,” said Chief Master Sgt. Andrea Young, the 624th RSG senior enlisted leader. “It helps us validate our skills as Airmen postured for wartime taskings.”

“Readiness” is a term that encompasses more than pre-deployment trainings, forms and equipment, said Eunice Tan, the 624th RSG unit deployment manager. 

“It is also mental, physical, financial, and emotional wellness and preparedness for yourself and your family,” said Tan. “Ensure that if you are tasked, your family and loved ones are fiscally and legally prepared to handle affairs in your absence. A contingency plan is vital in the event that your orders are extended or in case of emergency.”

For Staff Sgt. Joey Terlaje, a 44th Aerial Port Squadron load planner and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TACC) instructor stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the multi-capable Airmen concept is a key component of military readiness. Since January, he has been teaching Citizen Airmen field medical training techniques used in real-world combat situations.

“I value teaching the TCCC course to help train our members on the seriousness of saving lives and minimizing casualties,” said Terlaje. “If I deploy downrange, I will be embedded in the unit where I can lend my TCCC knowledge, but ultimately these are skills every Airman should be proficient in.”

During the UTA, members also received classroom instruction from Active Duty personnel from the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives training, known as CBRNE.

Pacific warriors practiced the various MOPP levels to include the donning and doffing of the personal protective equipment ensemble worn by troops in CBRNE-contaminated environment to protect against chemical and biological agents.

Medical personnel shadowed Airmen from various Air Force Specialty Codes as they simulated scenarios, such as how to dress a head wounds and applying tourniquets to broken limbs.

To assess the proficiency of the training, subject matter experts from the WIT conducted a readiness validation exercise. Airmen were tested on their knowledge of MOPP and alarm signals.

"Broadly, readiness is the means to present our forces to the nation," said Col. Joseph Orcutt, interim 624th RSG commander. "Measured, it shows the highest echelons of our leadership the currency of preparedness to Fly, Fight, and Win.

"Military readiness first requires individual readiness," said Orcutt. "It means taking accountability of yourself. Am I prepared to deploy at a moment's notice? Can I get my flu shot at first chance? It's all the little pieces, when put together that strengthen us leaders who are prepared and primed to use our warfighting skills."