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News > Paying it forward: 908th MXG helps Dover reservists prepare for ORE
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512th MXG reservists prepare for ORE
Staff Sgt. Andrew Zavalanski (left), a 512th Airlift Wing chemical protection overgarment instructor, explains the proper technique for securing the fastening strings on the chemical overgarment worn by Senior Master Sgt. Ommar Then, 512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, during operational readiness exercise training Feb. 10, 2013, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Approximately 120 Liberty Wing reservists participated in the all-day event that covered first responder skills and protection procedures for personnel and equipment in the event of a chemical attack on base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joe Yanik)
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Paying it forward: 908th MXG helps Dover reservists prepare for ORE

Posted 2/13/2013   Updated 2/14/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Joe Yanik
512th AW Public Affairs

2/13/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Approximately 120 reservists from the 512th Maintenance Group and some other Liberty Wing members received familiarization readiness training Feb. 10, 2013, here.

Three instructors from the 908th Maintenance Group, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and one instructor from the 512th Civil Engineer Squadron conducted the all-day block training, covering first responder skills and protection procedures for personnel and equipment in the event of a chemical attack on base.

"The purpose of the training was what I call 'prior preparation' (for the maintenance group) for our operational readiness exercise in March," said Col. Kelvin D. McElroy, 512th MXG commander. "The bottom line is to meet our wing commander's intent, which is readiness, readiness, readiness."

McElroy added the training was also organized to benchmark the 908th MXG's real-world perspective and record of excellence in readiness training with its ORE and operational readiness inspection.

"I met with my (group's) senior leaders to get a pulse on the readiness of our Airmen," said McElroy. "They estimated around 95 percent of our maintainers didn't know these (readiness skills)."

McElroy said he then called on the leadership of the 908th MXG for assistance.

The 908th MXG earned a rating of excellent on the logistics compliance assessment program during their compliance inspection in June 2012.

Lt. Col. James Hartle, 908th MXG vice commander, said his group received the best score that Air Force Reserve Command gave for the LCAP last year.

"(The assistance from the 908th MXG instructors) provided a huge learning experience for our members who had no familiarization with the responsibilities of PAR leaders and facility managers," said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Nibblett, 512th MXG aircraft systems manager. "It was a huge success."

The day began with a briefing in Bldg. 760's auditorium, where the instructors provided the reservists with an overview of all the skills they would become familiar with by the end of the day.

"There is a lot of information we're covering today," said contamination control instructor Master Sgt. William Lyndall, 908th MXG. "If they can retain 40 percent of it, I feel I'll have done my job as an instructor."

Senior Airman Galo Cabrera, 512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said he had some training in self-aid buddy care in high school, but the personal protection equipment was unfamiliar to him.

"One thing I took away from today's training was the importance of keeping a good seal on your chemical protection overgarment, especially the strings that fasten at the neck area," said Cabrera.

Senior Airman Deborah Thomas, 46th Aerial Port Squadron, said she gained useful knowledge about the hazards of contamination after a chemical attack.

"I learned how it's better for chemical attacks to occur on a concrete surface, rather than on grass," said Thomas.

She explained chemical fluids on concrete evaporate more quickly than they do on grass, so they are less hazardous to Airmen who are outside rebuilding after an attack.

Nibblett said among the reservists who attended the training, 40 of the maintainers are participating in the ORE as post-attack reconnaissance leaders and facility managers.

These 40 Airmen, along with other senior enlisted reservists, stayed longer than the others for additional PAR team familiarization. This training covered how to properly and safely survey the damage sustained from a base attack and identify areas of contamination and possible unexploded ordnance.

McElroy will be participating in the ORE as well.

"We're grateful (to the instructors) and for their expertise," said Senior Master Sgt. Ommar Then, 512th AMXS, who volunteered to assist in demonstrating how to properly carry a litter and wear a chemical protection overgarment. "They are passing on good knowledge to us for this inspection cycle. Because of this training, there will be many opportunities to shine at the ORE."

"It was evident that the members of the 512th AW were hungry to learn as much as they could," said Hartle. "They were focused, engaged and asked a lot of questions. We were able to share numerous inside secrets such as specialized SABC kits and PAR kits. Implementing such specialized kits will help each team and the Liberty Wing as a whole perform much better."

Before assuming his responsibilities as vice commander in Alabama, Hartle was the 512th Maintenance Squadron commander, here.

"It was an honor to come back "home" and help; and, we look forward to working closely with the 512th in the future," he added.

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