RADR Exercise ensures fastest route to aircraft in sky

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ashley Mikaio, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office

When an airfield comes under attack, priority number one is getting any damage repaired so that we can get aircraft back in the sky and deliver air power upon the enemy.

This responsibility is what Airmen from the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron were executing during a rapid airfield damage recovery exercise at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, October 7, 2022. During this exercise, Airmen were required to do more than just their single Air Force specialty, but will be capable of performing tasks outside of their bubble too.

“This is how we as civil engineers go out and recover an airfield after an attack,” said Capt. Gemma Fiduk, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron operations flight commander. “Getting planes in the air is going to be paramount and civil engineers have a big piece in that.”

The 386th ECES brought out civil engineer Airmen from multiple specialties including plumbers, water and fuel, HVAC and power production. In the event that an airfield is damaged, the Air Force will now be able to harness more Airmen to accomplish the task with speed. With the help of these kinds of exercises, the hope is to work together seamlessly, perfectly demonstrating the concept of multi-capable Airmen (MCA).

“The goal of this exercise is to make sure that all of our Airmen are prepared for the possibility that they might be called upon to go out there and get in a piece of equipment they haven’t used very often,” said Fiduk. “We specifically chose Airmen who don’t have a lot of experience with this type of exercise.”

When a larger majority of people have an idea of how to help repair a runway, the likelihood of success increases exponentially. With a large squadron, the 386th ECES leadership wants to be able to utilize as many Airmen as possible in an emergency situation.

“The most important thing after an attack is to recover the airfield. I have maybe 30 heavy equipment operators but a flight of more than 100 people. Being able to leverage a greater percentage of my flight to go recover after an attack is extremely invaluable,” continued Fiduk. “I wouldn’t have to rely on 30 heavy equipment operators, I could have 100 of my folks out there getting the job done.”

The training pad was loud with the sounds of different pieces of heavy equipment working together to fix the two craters in the cement. All the Airmen and their supervisors were working through the dust and grime to execute the training proficiently. ECES members were working hard to let everyone know that when the time comes, they won’t miss a beat getting into the fight.

“The whole concept of RADR training is to respond to the actual threats that we will be facing and to do it more quickly and more efficiently to get the aircraft in the sky.”

This training is one of several examples the 386 Air Expeditionary Wing has demonstrated of MCA in recent months. The wing continues to lead the way in increasing agile combat employment through the use of MCA.