Four-day Bivouac prepares Holloman Airmen
Airmen from the 49th Civil Engineer and Materiel Maintenance Squadrons take cover under a hardened shelter in level four mission-oriented protective postures during a Bivouac exercise April 11. During a simulated base attack, Airmen sought immediate shelter in a solid structure as a preventative measure, as well as donned chemical protection gear to protect themselves from any possible form of bio-warfare used by hostile forces. (U.S. Photo by Airman 1st Class Michael Shoemaker/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Colin Cates
49th Wing Public Affairs
4/23/2012 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The 49th Civil Engineer Squadron and 49th Materiel Maintenance Squadron took part in a four-day deployment readiness exercise at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., April 10 to 12.
An exercise of this magnitude prepares Airmen to answer our nation's call, said Maj. Timothy Fryar, 49th Civil Engineer Squadron operations chief.
"The main focus for this exercise was preparedness," said Fryar. "It was time to get our Airmen back into the contingency mindset."
The tasking objective of the Bivouac was to make base repairs and prepare for a 1,000-force bed-down.
"We did all of our mobility preparations, pallet and vehicle checks, and then we convoyed to the exercise point," Fryar said.
Using the actual equipment that is part of the deployed environment helps Airmen get first-hand experience.
"The Airmen had to execute a bed-down plan, and that involved our engineers, survey, power and water teams all working together to build this plan," Fryar said.
The goal is for Airmen to be able to apply the skill set used in this exercise to a real deployment.
There were two different groups, Echo One and Echo Two, said Fryar. These are the deployment bands, and they break down the squadron into teams. Echo Two was tasked to be in this Bivouac.
The idea behind this training was to have one of the bands, Echo One or Echo Two, complete this training, and then the Airmen will be better prepared to deploy shortly thereafter, said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Grizzle, a 49th CES lead operations manager. Airmen having this information fresh in their minds will make their deployment so much more successful.
The secondary purpose of this exercise was the command and control aspect. This focused on how information is relayed to Airmen, to ensure that orders are followed and reported back to the command, said Fryar.
Every operating section's commander had a chance to plan and execute their role in this exercise, and then they coordinated with the unit control center on how the plan was going to be accomplished.
Self awareness of each Airman's capabilities during this exercise helps prepare them for real-world missions because there will already be trust built between Airmen and their command, said Fryar.
"I want to know what my people can do when we are all deployed, and know the weaknesses and strengths of everybody on my team," Fryar said.
There is only one MMS in the United States, and having it at Holloman AFB is a great opportunity for the Airmen to have access to equipment that would not be available elsewhere, said Fryar.
An exercise like this really sharpens every participant's skills, said Grizzle. It is really nice to be able to use the assets they have out at MMS.
"Being able to work with the 49th MMS is a huge benefit to us," said Grizzle. "We have done chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive procedures; gone through performance assessment report team routes and covered how to properly wear our chemical gear in different mission-oriented protective posture level situations."
Working side-by-side with civil engineers is great, and both squadrons really benefit for an exercise like this, said Airman 1st Class Blake Stokke, 49th Material Maintenance Squadron structure journeymen. Plus, both squadrons are proud of their trades and get to demonstrate what each Airman is capable of doing while working together to get the job done.
"This exercise took a lot of planning, and I am really happy with the way it turned out," Grizzle said. "Overall, this training has been very beneficial for all involved."
"This is a good exercise for the whole wing," Fryar said. "Multiple units received additional training from this exercise -- 49th Security Forces Squadron, who issued our weapons; 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron, who gave us the gear we needed; and 49th Force Support Squadron, who provided the meals ready to eat. This was a huge team effort."