Resilient, Ready: MHAFB maintains readiness amid COVID-19 pandemic
By Senior Airman Tyrell Hall, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 25, 2020
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
As COVID-19 and its impact on the Air Force attempts to cast a shadow on daily operations, members of the MHAFB community continue to maintain quality training and mission execution.
Gunfighters are doing their part in keeping birds in the air and boots on the ground through persistent and innovative trainings and placing critical personnel where needed to be successful. Even as work schedules adjust to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, squadrons push forward with the resources they have in support of the mission.
The 389th and 391st Fighter Squadrons continue to soar the skies, execute training sorties and pursue innovative ground refueling techniques such as hot pits.
The 366th Security Forces Squadron is taking part in maintaining Airman lethality by conducting combat arms qualifications and holding special skills training including long rang weapons qualifications.
“Our tempo has not slowed at all, we still teach class every day,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Colmer, a member of the 366th SFS Combat Arms training team.
Security forces play an integral part in force protection and their readiness is important to maintaining the security of the base.
Showcasing readiness and resilience, the 366 Civil Engineer Squadron Explosives Ordinance Disposal team refines their skills with the continuation of required training, not allowing high levels of performance to waver.
“We have to be ready at a moment’s notice, so we’re focusing on exactly what we need to train,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert McNaught, 366th CES EOD technician NCO in charge of training. “We still conduct good quality training to achieve our training goals.”
In spite of experiencing scheduling adjustments as well, they stay ready to respond at a moment’s notice to the nation’s call and refuse to yield their operations tempo, relentlessly supporting and executing the mission.
“We’re still responding and still getting personnel to where they need to be,“ McNaught said.
The 366th CES Readiness and Emergency Management flight also plays a vital role in ensuring personnel are ready and equipped with the skills-knowledge needed to deploy.
Emergency Management’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense (CBRN) instructors continue to hold classes to enhance Airman readiness. They too, like the EOD team, are prioritize a stable training pace.
Throughout training days, CBRN classes maintain a manageable number of attendees, balancing capacity with capability to enable complete support of mission needs while staying aware of precautions for social distancing.
“We are proceeding forward with CBRN and readiness training, focusing on our deployers,” said 1st Lt. Jaclyn Matherne, 366th CES Readiness and Emergency Management flight chief. “We are still supporting the mission with no decrease in readiness or work tempo.”
Their dedication reflects in their ability to train personnel with the skills needed to respond in the face of CBRN threats. These skills add to the readiness of Airmen and keep them safe.
Success hinges on each Airman’s ability to perform at their best, so aside from maintaining high performance during training in spite of shifting schedules, each squadron is taking the necessary precautions to safeguard Airman wellness and ensure mission success.
“We spread people out in classes and each instructor wears gloves at all times,” Colmer said, “We encourage the students to do the same.”
Colmer said they also wipe down all equipment with a cleaning solution every day. The 366th CES is practicing similar precautions, wiping down work areas in the morning and before leaving work.
These safety measures, coupled with compliance with social-distancing directives, serve to create an environment where Airmen can effectively operate and champion the preservation of the Air Force as a combat force
Gunfighters, whether they are security forces, emergency managers, maintainers, firefighters or pilots, continue to deliver their greatest amount of combat capability and ensure Airmen are ready to project combat airpower.