***image1***A thermal imagery system, an armory and the ability to receive aircraft were all established Jan. 25 by approximately 125 members from the 86th Contingency Response Group and the 86th Air and Space Communications Group during the operational readiness exercise at Zweibrücken.
The team brought more than 100,000 pounds of equipment with them to their second ORE in Zweibrücken in preparation for the Operation Readiness Inspection in March.
“It was evident after the first several hours of the Base Y ORE that Airmen from the CRG and ACOMG took the lessons learned from the last ORE seriously,” said Col. Scott Schafer, Base Y and 86th CRG commander. “Everyone made improvements in their procedures, the team was better integrated, and all processes are now validated.”
Throughout the exercise, Base Y received 14 C-21 and C-130 sorties that included aeromedical evacuations, night vision goggle and cargo upload and offload flights.
The ORE gave about 20 members practice in using night vision goggles. When the exercise called for “black out conditions,” the airfield lights were shut off and illuminated by infrared lights, only visible to those wearing night vision goggles. The team was responsible for marshalling aircraft, loading and unloading cargo and passengers, ensuring a safe departure.
“I went to Iraq and conducted several of these missions recently,” said Tech. Sgt. Hector Nieves, 86th Air Mobility Squadron. “Although the operations tempo in Iraq is a bit faster, the training we receive in the ORE is very realistic.”
The 86th CRG’s mission statement is to “Open a base with speed, precision and lethality,” and that is exactly what the group did, despite freezing temperatures and snowfall.
“The Base Y personnel endured through the extreme cold conditions very well,” said Colonel Schafer. “The exercise went flawlessly with all missions accomplished and zero incidents or cold weather injuries.”