Rodeo emphasizes learning and relying on your wingman

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen
  • 108th Wing Public Affairs
     The rodeo is back in town.

     Airmen are spread across the hangar floor adjusting their M50 Joint Service General Purpose gas masks, zipping up their Mission-Oriented Protective Posture gear, tugging on boots and pulling on protective gloves.

     It's organized chaos.

     It is also a great example of the buddy system in action.

     During the Wing's annual Warrior Week, the 108th Global Mobility Squadron's hangar was turned into an oversized open classroom for the Expeditionary Skills Rodeo. On one side, Airmen were trained with their MOPP gear; on the other side, the chaos is traded for tables in a more traditional classroom environment. Members of the Wing's Medical Group refreshed a group of Airmen's emergency medical skills.

     It's all about re-familiarization with the wearing of the MOPP suit and mask, self-aid and buddy care, as well as a host of other skills.

     The Rodeo also covered Explosive Ordnance Reconnaissance, Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Awareness; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Defense Awareness Course; CBRNE Defense Survival Skills, Training for Deploying Warfighters and Law of Armed Conflict.

     "It gets us in line with NGB's (National Guard Bureau's) new ancillary training program that basically streamlines our computer-based training and our hands-on training fundamentals," said Master Sgt. Amanda L. Marotta, Emergency Management Superintendent, Readiness and Emergency Management Flight, 108th Civil Engineer Squadron.

     Each Airman ensures that their wingman's gas mask is on correctly, the MOPP suit's hood properly covers the gas mask; the boots that look like oversized winter children's boots, are pulled over the combat boots and that the entire MOPP ensemble is properly sealed.

     Each Airman is a second set of eyes during the training.

     This critical training and its curriculums are tested and evaluated through exercises and inspections. These skills are the necessary foundation for all Airmen to work effectively in a hostile combat environment.

     In a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear environment, each Airman's life will depend it.

     And despite the heavy snowstorm, more than 340 Airmen completed the training.

     "For me as an instructor, the more practice we get in with this skill set, the better prepared we are for a real world experience, as well as our overall readiness," said Marotta.