As we examine the regional threats across the Pacific Region, the 374th Airlift Wing looks inward on our capability to defend our nation and support our partners. Part of our wartime capability is dependent on Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) readiness; effectiveness in this area will help us to sustain the mission through a chemical attack, and to recover the base afterwards. The Maintenance Group continuously evaluates our ability to provide airlift capabilities through a myriad of threats.
Training will continue to play an increasingly critical role in our Readiness as regional threats evolve in the Pacific AOR. The Wing just recently underwent a Wartime Readiness Inspection, in which each organization tested their ability to execute ATSO/CBRN procedures. This was the first time the Wing had undergone a CBRN-related exercise in some period, and as expected, we found several areas that could use improvement. The inspection was the perfect opportunity to focus as a squadron on correcting these deficiencies together. It was also an opportunity for the newer Airmen to experience a simulated chemical environment within their work centers. It is important for Airmen across Yokota to be familiar with performing operations in a contested environment so that they can sustain our airlift mission.
This training event provided invaluable experience to all of our Airmen. Our Maintenance Group Commander, Col Robertson stated “Training is the life blood of maintenance and is truly one of the cornerstones of what makes our Air Force the Greatest in the World”. Even though Colonel Robertson’s words were in reference to Developing World Class Airmen, this concept of focusing on training our Airmen properly also fits perfectly into the idea of Readiness and being prepared to defend the base.
But, a base ready to fight, is more than developing CBRN skills. It also means ensuring Airmen are proficient in their job, so they can carry out tasks under the most stressful situations imaginable. Leaders must verify that all necessary tools and equipment are available and their Airmen are proficient and comfortable using them.
Based on the events currently happening in the Pacific, we must continue to sharpen our combat skills in order to be continue to provide the deterrence that has kept this region at peace. That being said, Yokota’s mission is far more diverse than just moving to the sound of gunfire; it is also important to remember, “Ready to fight” could be moving humanitarian aid to those in the Pacific AOR affected by the next earthquake, typhoon, or natural disaster. We continue to strive for excellence by smartly and aggressively improving our processes so that we can be a BASE READY TO FIGHT!
-2nd Lt. Marcelli Magday, 374th Maintenance Squadron flight commander