OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
The 51st Fighter Wing launched its first-ever no-notice readiness exercise on May 4, putting the Mustangs’ ability to 'Fight Tonight' to the test.
The no-notice exercise challenged the tradition of planning exercises weeks or months in advance, allowing wing leadership a view of how personnel would react in a real-world situation.
“We train hard at Osan to stay ready and alert, but this type of scenario takes away the ability to artificially prepare for an exercise and react in a more realistic way,” said Col. Andrew Hansen, 51st FW commander. “This is us putting our money where our mouth is, demonstrating the capability of our Airmen to get the job done on short notice without any preparation.”
The exercise saw simulated missile barrages, mortar attacks, and gunfights with opposition forces across the base, keeping the 51st Security Forces Squadron Defenders on their toes. Through all of the simulated attacks and donning/doffing Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear, maintenance and operations personnel worked around the clock to generate the wing’s A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and F-16 Fighting Falcons as soon as possible.
“I think that the results speak for themselves,” said Hansen. “Our teams were able to accomplish their missions, we were able to identify a myriad of problems that we hadn’t found before, and nobody got hurt. I have never been more confident in the Mustangs’ ability to Fight Tonight than I am right now.”
The wing Inspector General team set the tone for how the exercise would be run, encouraging wing inspection team members to really push to find out what mistakes could end up getting Airmen killed or injured and how they can prevent wing assets being damaged or contaminated.
“The complete lack of preparation time or even the ability to think about this scenario in advance really highlighted the areas that need improvement, but it also stressed how capable we are in so many others,” said Maj. Shawn Walsh, 51st Fighter Wing inspector general. “This is why the exercises we hold so frequently in the ROK are important, it trains all of us to do our job efficiently in a hostile, stressful environment, and this exercise set a good benchmark for our abilities.”