167th extended drill leads into deployment exercise

Senior Airman James Reynolds III (left), a 167th medical technician, works with Airman 1st Class Paul Sexton, a 167th aerospace propulsion mechanic, to pass out gear in a deployment mobility line at the 167th Airlift Wing, June 8, 2018. The wing plans to exercise some unused skills during a deployment exercise to Alpena, Mich., June 9-14. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jodie Witmer)

Senior Airman James Reynolds III (left), a 167th medical technician, works with Airman 1st Class Paul Sexton, a 167th aerospace propulsion mechanic, to pass out gear in a deployment mobility line at the 167th Airlift Wing, June 8, 2018. The wing plans to exercise some unused skills during a deployment exercise to Alpena, Mich.,this month. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jodie Witmer)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --

The 167th Airlift Wing conducted a four-day extended drill at the unit June, 7-10 and plans to exercise some unused skills during a deployment exercise to Alpena, Mich., this month.

The extended drill is designed to allow maximum training over a four-day period and provide the necessary support to conduct an exercise at another location.

The extended drill and exercise are considered “major muscle movements” for the wing, said Col. Shaun J. Perkowski, commander of the 167th.

The 167th will be exercising skills we don’t normally exercise, said Col. David V. Cochran, vice wing commander of the 167th.

“We haven’t done a muscle movement of this size since the last Operational Readiness Inspection ORI in 2010,” said Maj. Christopher Tusing, commander of the 167th Logistics Readiness Squadron.  “These training venues are coming back and will be part of the wing’s battle rhythm moving forward.”

Cochran said we have “all hands on deck” to help make the deployment exercise possible.

Perkowski said, “We will build on our ability to capitalize on group strength and build on our group’s cohesiveness.”

Approximately 200 members are expected to fly to Alpena, Mich. for the exercise. This requires the wing to train and assess the wing’s ability to position, employ, and sustain the force given concentration on the Full Spectrum Readiness operational mindset. The participating members will be training and assessing the wing’s effectiveness in a hostile and/or contaminated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) environment. Members will also have to hone job specific skill sets in a contingency environment.

Tusing said, “We have a generation of wing members who’ve never done this. Never been off station to train, learn and have fun like this.”

The expectation for the exercise from Lt. Col. James Freid-Studlo, 167th inspector general, is to identify readiness shortfalls, increase focus on technical skills, and increase morale.

“Ultimately, our wing inspection team will provide documentation and feedback so we can improve our wing,” said Perkowski.

According to Chief Master Sgt. Michael Hill, chief enlisted manager of the 167th communication flight, the 167th communications flight dedicated time during the extended drill to review requirements and finalize plans to provide real world communication services for all the members and players involved in the deployment exercise.

Along with preparing for the “fly-away” exercise, many sections on base led trainings to promote full spectrum readiness.

Chief Master Sgt. Daniel S. Effland, the 167th aircrew flight equipment chief, said although aircrew flight equipment will not be going away for the deployment exercise they stayed incredibly busy during the extended drill by conducting water survival training, combat survival training, and a large chemical decontamination exercise for Aircrew members.

Master Sgt. Nathaniel Smith, 167th aircrew training NCO, said aircrew participated in aircrew chemical defense task qualification training along with an aircrew chemical contamination area.

The 167th security forces squadron is preparing to have trainings happening in both Alpena and at the 167th.

The trainings will include security forces tactical maneuvering as well as enemy prisoner of war procedures, said Master Sgt. Sylvester L. Payne, 167th security forces training manager.

“Our training at Alpena will consist of simple principles of operation like cover and concealment, danger crossings, entry control points, and moving in squad formations,” said Payne. “Back in Martinsburg, the security forces squadron will conduct mounted operations which requires deploying in Humvees.”

While in Alpena for the exercise, 167th medical technicians plan to provide self-aide buddy care (SABC) training.

We have seen multiple Airmen use the lifesaving techniques we have taught in SABC to help save lives and prevent injuries, said Staff Sgt. Travis Sites, 167th medical technician.

Perkowski said he wants the participants to have the confidence that they can deploy to a challenging environment, while having gained the necessary skill and expertise to operate in that environment – and get the job done showing their “Mountaineer Pride Worldwide” to our Total Force.