Role players add realism to exercises, see 51 FW mission from 'other' side

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Stuart Camp
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Every story has two sides, and an operational readiness exercise offers a small number of people a perspective from the "other" side.

Most often, these role players play dead, dying or injured to add realism to the scenarios presented in the exercise. Each Airman is temporarily detailed to the 51st Fighter Wings exercise evaluation team for 12-hour shifts throughout the ORE.

In some instances - like Beverly Midnight 12-03, these role players haven't even in-processed into their units. The pool of role players comes from Airmen who are unable to participate in the exercise due to medical limiting conditions or new arrivals to the base.

Tech. Sgt. Damion Parris, a heavy equipment operator assigned to the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron, just arrived from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, for his second tour at Osan. Usually, he's moving barriers or assisting with crater repair.

"I didn't even know there were role players," he said, recalling his first tour here. "This makes it more realistic."

For the more serious events - say a bus crash or mass casualty event -- a team of specialists from the 51st Medical Group apply makeup and prosthetics to mimic injuries and wounds for evaluation of self-aid buddy care and medical staff treatments.

Add smoke, fake blood and acting by the role players and the scene is set.

"I've seen how the medical folks operate," Parris said. He added that this new perspective gave him a renewed confidence in medics' ability to save lives and treat injuries.

Another new transplant, 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainer Senior Airman Craig Galvin saw how the base receives follow-on forces. Twice during this ORE, he came through the Combat Catch reception.

"When you see the other side of situations, it will help you react differently," said Galvin, fresh from his transfer from Kadena. "(My old base) doesn't play like they do here."

Seeing different scenarios and participating in a myriad of processes, both role players expressed their biggest take away from this experience simply - know your job.

"Remember your muscle memory and you'll be all right," Parris said. "It's easy to get flustered in the heat of the moment."

Galvin added, "If you need help, ask for help or pull out your Airman's Manual."