***image1***435th Materiel Maintenance Squadron Airmen were recently reminded of their wartime roles during a day-long refresher training, dubbed “Warrior Day.”
Following a 100 percent successful 4 a.m. telephone recall, all of the 94 squadron members participated in mobility readiness, pallet building, chemical warfare preparation – to include inventory, marking and wear of the battle dress overgarment ensemble – and self-aid buddy care.
The all-inclusive training was deemed essential by squadron members who feel the roles they play in the wartime environment need constant reinforcement.
“A lot of people haven’t done much of this,” said Staff Sgt. Wayne Bukaty, who has been stationed here five years and now works in logistics, plans and programs at the 435th MMS. “Hands-on fundamentals give everyone more practice. Not too many of our Airmen have seen the whole picture – how our wartime tasks differ from our day-to-day tasks.”
Piggy-backing on Sergeant Bukaty’s sentiments, Tech. Sgt. David Ferrell, 435th MMS NCO in charge of readiness, said he wants to ensure any one Airman in the squadron has the required training to do whatever is needed to make the mission a success.
“We’re using the ‘grow your own’ method,” he said. “We’re giving the practice and experience necessary so that everyone can pitch in and help where needed.”
In saying that, the scenarios organized for Warrior Day obliged Airmen to work in situations similar to what is found in deployment. Everyday tasks such as operating a computer are made difficult when in MOPP 4 gear.
“We purposely made it difficult because that’s what you can expect downrange,” said Maj. Eric Axelbank, 435th MMS commander. “Honing our wartime skills is one of the most important things we do because personal protection is a critical element of mission readiness.”
In addition to the squadron-specific wartime readiness training in cargo preparation and pallet building, the 435th MMS Airmen were given the most up-to-date training in self-aid buddy care from the new Airman’s Manual.
The training and mobility inspections allowed squadron training managers to identify any problems or deficiencies in readiness, Sergeant Bukaty added.
Recently re-deployed from Iraq, Tech. Sgt. Albert Kraver, 435th MMS NCO in charge of allied trades, agreed the training is critical to the success of the squadron.
“We were guinea pigs,” he said, referring to working closely with the Army in convoy and security. “They are very particular in making sure everyone wears equipment properly.”
The same sentiments were echoed throughout the squadron – that the training done now will benefit the mission capability of the squadron, but also protect the Airmen who make mission success possible.
“This exercise was a great success in part due to how serious the Airmen took it,” said Major Axelbank. “As leaders, we owe it to our troops and their families to reinforce the skill set that’ll keep them safe and mission ready when we ask them to deploy.”