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How you train is how you fight: 386 AEW conducts exercise, sets precedent for mission success

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dalton Williams, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office

With superior training and rapid communication, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen successfully demonstrated command and control, accountability, major accident response and air and missile defense capabilities during an exercise at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, Oct. 19-20, 2022.

From the initial kickoff to the end of the exercise, Airmen were able to respond to multiple situations, showcasing their sustained readiness.

The success of this multi-day exercise started with those who created the framework for each exercise team.

“We set up the scenarios so that everyone practices how they would respond,” said Master Sgt. Cory Bunton, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing chief of exercise and wing inspection team. “Then we evaluate their response against current policies, practices and procedures to make sure that we are hitting the marks that we need to. We also make sure that in case one of these events actually occurs, we know how to respond and be more effective in that response.”

For the exercise, nothing was off the table and everything but the kitchen sink was put in. Each scenario was met with an efficient and effective response from across the base, including coalition partners.

The base successfully demonstrated the quick engagement and interception of a simulated small unmanned aircraft system attack while maintaining effective communication lines in a time of crisis.

Successful communication was the highlight during the major accident response portion of the exercise, designed to put almost every squadron’s contingency response capabilities to the test. Simulated on the flightline, each squadron responded timely and efficiently in order to provide lifesaving care to victims and worked to not aggravate the impacts of the accident further. Moving and coordinating in unison, they operated like an orchestra that didn’t miss a single note.

Staff Sgt. John Thacker, 386th Expeditionary Medical Squadron independent medical technician, explained how his team was able to execute when the call came in.

“We train as much as we can,” said Thacker, who noted that realistic training is the best predictor of how a team will perform on game day. “I think it keeps us sharp and it doesn't let us fall into a sense of normalcy.”

Looking overall at each team’s performance during the exercise, there’s something that’s clearly engrained in every Marauder–how we train is how we fight.

“The foundation for this growth is our training,” said Bunton. When recalling what made these exercises a success, Bunton said “It’s understanding the systems that we use; it’s all of our offices that have performed functions to retrain and reevaluate how they respond; it’s testing their people and equipment in between these exercises. All of that happening in the background between these exercises has led to this event's success.”