PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Co. --
932nd Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen met up with fellow 910th Airlift Wing Airmen, Youngstown Reserve Air Station, to join forces with units from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, for Operation Centennial Summit, September 14-18, 2020.
This training exercise focused on various medical and maintainer training while also allowing sister wings to gain valuable team-building relationships.
Col. Glenn Collins, 932nd Airlift Wing commander, spearheaded this flyaway training opportunity to offer some training during this time when many opportunities have been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Collins wanted to offer distant training opportunities for all of his members, while prioritizing the safety of the Airmen by implementing personal protective measures to the maximum extent practicable in order to minimize COVID-19 exposure, as stated in the order of intent for the operation.
Masks and social distancing were practiced for the duration of the exercise.
According to Col Collins, “The intent of Centennial Summit was first to conduct a mobilization and training exercise where we utilized our mobility line and organic air assets in order to move the 932d airmen to an off-station location in order to conduct intra-service planning and mission essential task accomplishment with elements of the 302d and 910th Airlift Wings. Second, to conduct teambuilding and esprit de corps exercises in order to build camaraderie amongst the wing; and third, to provide proof of concept for our COVID 19 mitigation strategies in the event of actual future mobilizations.”
Lt. Col. Jennifer Mayer-Smith, 932nd Medical Squadron chief nurse, was approached by wing leadership to plan a flyaway training exercise that would also include an element of team-building and morale.
"The goal was to provide some job specific training, offer cross function operations with our sister units and do some team building,” said Mayer-Smith. “You learn a little about yourself, your team members and walk away with a sense of what you can do in a contested environment.”
The 932 AW worked with their sister wings to develop training plans required to meet medical requirements for Self Aid Buddy Care training (SABC). There was additional focus on tent building, patient movement, mass casualty triage and collection, visits with maintenance counterparts and slideshow presentations specific to the medical and maintenance career fields.
“The exercise was an exceptional success! Through the efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Mayer-Smith and her planning team, we were able to utilize all four groups and the entire wing staff in order to conduct off-station intra-service cooperation and training,” said Collins.
One of the presenters, Staff Sgt. Alexander Young, 932 MDS diagnostics imagining technician, had the chance to work with a counterpart from the 910 MDS to present twice daily on radiology and all areas of diagnostic imagery.
Young spoke about having not met his fellow presenter and explained how they shared information through texts and crafted a presentation that combined something from each of them.
“Working with our sister units to plan the training was a unique challenge, but the opportunity to work together and present was interesting. I was approached later with an invite to come to the 910 MDS and train some of their folks,” said Young. “The connections and bounds made during the week helped solidify the ties [between the two wings].”
A frequently mentioned takeaway was the blending of the units and opportunity to work together at a vastly different location. During the after-action discussion, several Airmen commented that the training was a good addition to the training they receive at home station. Also noted was how individuals felt better prepared for future deployments.
Col Collins noted that “the lessons learned were invaluable and formed the building block for future off-station training exercises.”
Staff Sgt. Lawrence Stout, 910 MDS aerospace medicine technician, said that this was the first time for him to travel for training like Operation Centennial Summit and work with other units. He thought the mass casualty triage training was some of the most beneficial working with members from each wing.
“An added benefit was when the patient litter carrying training ended early and we were able to combine two groups together and see how those parts work independently of each other. Having to make quick decisions on which patients to get out quickly or first was very beneficial,” said Stout.
Senior Airman Abby Eccles, 932 MDS medical technician, shared her experience and what she felt was the biggest takeaway for her.
“Working as a blended unit and meeting our counterparts we would deploy with, knowing who would have your back was one of the best parts for me,” said Eccles. “Also working at a much higher elevation made patient movement a bigger challenge,” something Eccles said she hadn’t expected.
For the 932 AW Airmen, the elevation gain was 459 feet above sea level to 6,187 feet at Peterson AFB and made for some adjustment on water consumption, as well as physical endurance.
Tech. Sgt. David Schallenberg, 932 Maintenance Squadron C- 40C hydraulic specialist, saw the exercise as a great opportunity to share his knowledge and learn about different maintenance practices.
“I feel this has been a great way to reconnect with our team members from the 932 AW, but also step outside our comfort zones as we develop as a group, a unit and to develop improved training plans for the next generation of hydraulic specialists and crew chiefs,” said Schallenberg.
During the last day’s briefing, the group was asked how many new contacts and numbers they had in their phones, which was a testament to the intent of the summit. Bring Airmen together from sister wings, work and play together to build lasting relationships.
“The opportunity to train with our sister wings allowed our team to accomplish essential training requirements and continue building on our resiliency and teamwork,” said Chief Master Sgt. Barbara Gilmore, 932 AW command chief.