HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The 49th Civil Engineer Squadron trained approximately 250 Airmen during Holloman’s first official Ability to Survive and Operate Rodeo of the year at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Jan. 29, 2018.
The rodeo, which is projected to occur once a month for the next six months, provides Airmen with in-depth instruction on basic warfare survival and operational skills and tests their response measures to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.
Participants work in teams and rotate to various training stations, led by one or more instructors, over a four-hour period. Each station trains Airmen on the use and misuse of a given skill set via hands on application and scenario-driven exercises. Participants demonstrate their ability to perform each skill by completing the task in a calm and efficient manner.
The topics covered during the rodeo include CBRN properties, mission oriented protective posture gear wear, pre-attack actions, post-attack reconnaissance, unexploded ordnance recognition and mitigation and zone transition points.
Learning and adopting these procedures could mean the difference between life and death in a real-world contingency.
“The most valuable benefit to this training is learning how to save someone’s life,” said Senior Airman Christopher Greeno, 49th CES Readiness and Emergency Management Flight training manager and rodeo instructor. “If you were to deploy and an attack were to happen, could you step up? Would you know what to do? [For instance], could you lead people on how to respond to a chemical attack, running a PAR route or putting on their MOPP gear? If you are not confident doing these things in a low-stress environment, how are you going to do them in a combat environment?”
Master Sgt. John C. Combs, 49th CES Readiness and Emergency Management Flight superintendent who coordinated the event, commented on the role that comradeship plays in the execution of these skills.
“I enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm of the individuals going through the training and their positive engagement with the events,” Combs said. “It is every Airman’s responsibility to do this--it is not just one Air Force specialty code that is responsible for taking care of the installation during a crisis. It is a team effort; the more team effort we have, the more successful we will be in defeating whatever enemies the United States may face.”
Continuous training on these methods is imperative to instilling and maintaining combat readiness amongst Holloman’s Airmen, and is especially important to those who are either deploying or relocating to a base where these skills may be employed.
“I feel a lot more confident in my knowledge and capabilities after participating in the rodeo,” said Airman 1st Class Ilyana Escalona, 49th Wing Public Affairs photojournalist who is relocating to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea this spring. “Performing each skill set hands on really helped me to understand what to do and what not to do in a wartime situation.”
Overall, the ATSO Rodeo delivers Holloman’s Airmen education and training that is vital to survival in a contested environment. The knowledge and instruction of the 49th CES personnel, and the equipment readiness from the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron, is what keeps Holloman’s Airmen fit to fight.