MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. —
From Aug. 7-11, 2023, the 5th Bomb Wing conducted Warbird Week, an exercise that stress tests the overall capabilities of 5th BW units, and how effectively they perform their missions.
“The intent of exercises is to prepare our Airmen for their worst day. When you exercise you are reinforcing training,” said Donald Hoobler, Inspector General exercise program specialist. “It links that baseline training that every Airman gets, and exercises are validating whether that training really took. It also gives confidence to our Airmen whenever they receive that training, they implement that training and they can really judge their performance on ‘did I do that correctly’.
When you deploy down range, you see the value of exercising. When you’re in the heat of a response, whether it’s a natural disaster or you’re in combat operations, you don’t want to figure this out for the first time, when you’re in the heat of it. It is sort of like football, you don’t want to go out there and your first game is the Super Bowl.”
The exercise included simulations of a nuclear generation, natural disasters, an active shooter event, and other scenarios to test multiple facets of the Wing to measure overall response.
“When it comes to planning the exercise, it is us three as the leads, and we use all of the wing inspection team (WIT) members to liaison back and forth with the office,” said Hoobler. “When it comes to the inspection time, I believe I used 56 WIT members across the 5th Bomb Wing to help us to implement the inspection and make sure all of the injects flowed into the units and we were able to observe as much as we did.”
Although Warbird Week had a broad focus on testing the 5th Bomb Wing as a whole, the 5th Medical group also conducted their own exercise: Ready Eagle. Ready Eagle calibrated the 5th MDG’s focus on medical training requirements based on scenarios presented by Warbird Week.
“During Ready Eagle Capstone, our first responders, Bioenvironmental team and Field Response team recovered victims of the tornado who were exposed to hazardous materials,” according to Tech. Sgt. Sarah Wilson, 5th MDG Medical Readiness & Commander’s Support Staff Flight Chief. “We also had Military Treatment Facility operations in the Medical Group, which consisted of triage, decontamination, patient movement, patient tracking and treatment of casualties.”
Exercises like Warbird Week and Ready Eagle are crucial to ensuring Team Minot’s response to worst-case scenarios are as proficient as they can be and, ultimately, save as many of our most important assets, our Airmen.