Exercise DRAGON FANG soars to success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Juliana Londono
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Less than a year after the introduction of the Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) model, the 9th Reconnaissance Wing put the deployment concept into action with Exercise DRAGON FANG.

The exercise tested the 9th RW’s ability to rapidly deploy and provide proper support down range. Multiple entities on base participated in this week-long exercise by first going through a simulated pre-deployment function line before being sent to the deployed area known as Dragon Town.

“The purpose of DRAGON FANG is to evaluate and prepare us for the AFFORGEN model and push us into the future to ensure that the 9th RW can give what is requested of them effectively, efficiently, and on time,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Channon Green, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Inspector General office wing inspection planner.

Airmen faced multiple tests of events that would lead up to a contested environment. Some of these events included airstrikes, ground assaults, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear events, and triage capabilities. Airmen were inspected on their ability to accomplish required mission essential tasks (METs) involving these scenarios.

“An example of one of the METs we were testing was the ability to perform PAR [post attack reconnaissance] sweeps, so searching for UXO’s [unexploded ordnance] post attack and making sure that the base was clear, doing recovery operations to check for damages to buildings and runways, and start repairs on them.” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Miles Bliss, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Inspector General office director of inspections.

The 9th Security Forces Squadron defenders pulled Airmen from different units to employ them as Multi-Capable Airmen while simultaneously being attacked at varying levels of severity. This provided a constant base defense and the first line of response to these events.

“With this specific exercise, we implemented Multi-Capable Airmen to fulfill force protection and security forces type roles,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ricky Sizemore, 9th Security Forces Squadron operations officer. “This helps us build up a heighted defense posture and allows for more people to be in the fight.”

The attacks resulted in injuries and casualties, but the 9th Medical Group Airmen were prepared to respond. Medical technicians quickly triaged patients based on the level of care needed and implemented Tactical Combat Catastrophe Care and handled mortuary affairs.

“Working in initial triage opened my eyes to chaotic situations,” said Airman 1st Class Othoniel Rojo, 9th Medical Group medical technician. “On the last day [of the exercise], they put us to the test by giving us about 40 patients in the span of 30 minutes, so there was a conga line of patients out the door. We triaged patients and once we simulated enough care, we cycled them in and out as fast as possible.”

Airmen from different agencies collaborated in the emergency operations center to advise leadership on how to effectively employ the proper support needed to respond to the scenarios while still executing the mission.

Exercises like these enforce the new AFFORGEN concept and ensure that it is applied correctly, while more importantly ensuring that the wing does have Airmen who are fit to fight year round.