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Shaw Airmen test deployment capabilities during exercise

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rashon Reid, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, sweeps away leftover mortar at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 16, 2016. Mortar is the substance that keeps a brick structure together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rashon Reid, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, sweeps away leftover mortar at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 16, 2016. Mortar is the substance that keeps a brick structure together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jeff Snead, Jr., 20th Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, adds water to sand and minerals to make mortar at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 16, 2016. During operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 17-03, Airmen continued normal operations while adhering to Mission Oriented Protective Posture levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jeff Snead, Jr., 20th Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, adds water to sand and minerals to make mortar at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 16, 2016. During operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 17-03, Airmen continued normal operations while adhering to Mission Oriented Protective Posture levels. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nathen Trevino, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron structural apprentice, ensures a brick is level at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 16, 2016. Airmen from the 20th CES built an alternate Unit Control Center facility during operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 17-03. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nathen Trevino, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron structural apprentice, ensures a brick is level at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Nov. 16, 2016. Airmen from the 20th CES built an alternate Unit Control Center facility during operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 17-03. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class BrieAnna Stillman)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Fighter Wing participated in operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 17-03, simulating a deployed environment Nov. 15 through 17.

The ORE gave the wing an opportunity to demonstrate its ability to employ forces under simulated combat conditions and meet Air Force standards for mission continuity in conventional and chemical warfare environments.

Every participant in the ORE had specific actions and procedures they needed to take according to their role in the wing’s overall mission. The exercise tested 20th FW members on their ability to handle scenarios such as aggressive behaviors, casualties and mission-oriented protective posture level changes.

MOPP levels determine an area’s chemical threat level and dictate the type of gear that must be worn to survive an attack. The specialized equipment includes a chemical and biological agent-resistant full-body suit, rubber boots and gloves, a gas mask, body armor and a helmet, all of which collectively weigh more than 15 pounds.

Although MOPP gear can be cumbersome and often limits visibility and movement, Airmen are still expected to complete their mission-related tasks. For example, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen worked to construct an alternate Unit Control Center building while wearing their chemical suits, rubber boots, body armor and helmets.

While pilots and tactical aircraft maintainers worked to keep aircraft in the air, 20th CES Airmen continued to construct the brick building that would support future exercise operations.

“My part in the exercise is to help lead this crew in building the UCC for contingency purposes,” said Tech. Sgt. John Burgess, 20th CES vertical shop NCO in charge.

In order to build the walls of the alternate UCC, 20th CES Airmen mixed sand, minerals and water to make mortar, a substance that holds the bricks of the building together.

“We lay down mortar in between each joint, put the brick down, level it, plumb it and make sure it is at the right elevation so it is not too high in one spot and low in the other, and then continue on to the next block,” said Airman 1st Class Nathen Trevino, 20th CES structural apprentice.

The exercise was an opportunity for 20th FW Airmen to hone their skills and test their ability to operate effectively in a simulated deployed environment. By practicing how they plan to play, 20th FW Airmen sharpened key skills, gained practical knowledge and built critical confidence.