913 AG conducts first ever group-wide ATSO training

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeff Walston
  • 913th Airlift Group
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus is credited with saying, “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

The 913th Airlift Group is taking that seriously. The Group’s November two-day Unit Training Assembly (UTA) was dominated by Ability to Survive and Operate (ATSO) training. Preparation for the first ever Group-wide ATSO training event has been underway for the past three months.

“Recent changes in Air Force Inspection System highlighted atrophy in skills required for readiness, leading Air Force Reserve Command to direct a Commander's Interest Item to accomplish an ATSO event,” said Lt. Col. Rosalind Abdulkhalik, commander of the 913th Force Support Squadron. All of the training offered during the event had real-world applications designed to prepare Airmen to successfully operate in a high threat or contaminated environment.”

The training, which took place at Little Rock AFB, involved six different stations running simultaneously. Stations included chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological, and/or explosive (CBNRE), and the proper wearing of protective equipment, contamination control areas, first aid, casualty reporting, alarm conditions, reporting enemy movement, unexploded ordnance identification, personnel recovery and a team building exercise.

Participants were divided into nine teams of approximately 25 Airmen each, with more than 200 of the Group’s assigned personnel participating in the event.

In addition to ATSO training, the 327th Airlift Squadron Aircrews made their way through an Aircrew Contamination Control Area (ACCA) for simulated decontamination. Aircrew flight equipment (AFE) technicians, assigned to the 913th Operations Support Squadron and 19th Airlift Wing, constructed a decontamination area from several Lightweight Inflatable Decontamination Systems (LIDS) shelters, where they conducted decontamination training for aircrew members in removing simulated contaminants such as micro-organisms, hazardous materials or radioactive substances.

The purpose of an ACCA is to establish a location to provide detection, contamination control, and processing provisions for aircrew members into a toxic free environment. It is AFE’s responsibility to meet the operational requirements of the process in a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear environment and be deployable within 48 hours, in place within 72 hours and capable of mobile operations at Forward Operating Locations.

Completing ATSO and ACCA training during the November UTA is in line with the unit’s goal of maintaining readiness at every level.