Ramstein wraps up Operation Varsity 19-03

A U.S. Airman assigned to the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron releases water from a hydrant during a response to a simulated fire at Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 24. The simulated fire was an exercise inject for Operation Varsity 19-03, a weeklong exercise designed to test the capabilites of Ramstein Airmen.
Photos by Tech. Sgt. Timothy Moore

by Senior Airman Milton Hamilton
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The third iteration of exercise Operation Varsity wrapped up Sept. 27, after an event-filled week of training.
Base agencies on Ramstein and Vogelweh Military Complex fired on all cylinders to push their Airmen throughout the week. Operation Varsity 19-03 extended beyond the KMC by including the 86th Airlift Wing’s geographically separated units in Spain, Portugal and Belgium.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron help simulated victims of an active shooter exercise at Kaiserslautern High School at Vogelweh Military Complex, Sept. 26. The event happened as part of Operation Varsity 19-03. It also marked the first time the defenders were allowed to practice responding to an incident at the new school.

“The Airmen here and at Morón AB, Lajes Field, and Chièvres AB did a great job reacting to scenarios that test our abilities and readiness,” said Col. Matt Husemann, 86th Airlift Wing vice commander. “We’ll continue to get even better as we prepare for the next graded exercise.”
During the exercise, Team Ramstein responded to simulated events such as missile attacks, perimeter breaches, active shooters, and chemical attacks.

“Each unit must have the ability to survive and operate, in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment,” said Lt. Col. Angela Stanton, 86th AW Inspector General director of readiness.
Stanton said this iteration of exercise Operation Varsity was graded, which meant that U.S. Air Forces in Europe inspectors closely monitored how Ramstein planned, executed, and evaluated readiness.

U.S. Airmen assist each other to remove their mission-oriented protective posture gear as part of Operation Varsity 19-03 at Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 27. Airmen assigned to both the 86th Airlift Wing and 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing simulated decontaminating their equipment to become more familiar with the process.


“I’d argue we grade ourselves all the time, as we try to get better as the world’s best wing and the world’s best base,” said Husemann.
During the exercise, several of the 86th AW’s geographically separated units responded to simulated perimeter breaches, fuel contamination, cyber-attacks, and receiving forces and aircraft.

“The purpose of Operation Varsity 19-03 was used to evaluate, measure, and report the ability of units to generate, employ, and sustain contingencies or force sustainment missions in the most likely consequential environment, maximizing combat effectiveness and the ability to survive and operate under stressful conditions,” said Stanton.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 86th Security Forces Squadron perform self aid and buddy care procedures during an Operation Varsity 19-03 scenario at Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 24.

Exercise Operation Varsity 19-03 may have come to an end, but the fourth iteration is scheduled to be held in December. As with previous exercises, announcements will be made prior to ensure personnel are aware of real world degraded services and delays on base.