Chemical threats, combined strengths
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen from the Republic of Korea air force and the United States Air Force took part in a combined Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear exercise at Kunsan Air Base May 28, 2014.
The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight hosted RoKaf Airmen from eight different organizations in the exercise.
"The exercise is different from others because we specifically conducted it without the rest of the base agencies participating," said Tech. Sgt. Stephen Hickman, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management logistics NCOIC. "By doing this we were able to focus on the CBRN mission and better communicate this training to our ROKAF partners."
The exercise covered a CBRN response from beginning to end, where they set out detection points, monitored and discovered a simulated contamination.
"We went from the preparedness all the way to recovery," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Osburn, 8th CES emergency management training NCOIC. "(Once discovered) we reported it in and mitigated the incident so the mission could carry on here at Kunsan."
One of the RoKaf Airmen who took part in the exercise expressed the importance of combined exercises.
"I think the RoK-US combined exercises must be carried out on a regular basis." said Senior Master Sgt. Park, Ki-Soo, 38th Fighter Group CBRN flight chief, speaking through an interpreter. "We are a team. We live together, eat together and fight together in wartime. Cooperation is pretty important."
Osburn also recognized the importance of training together.
"When the missiles are flying, that's not a time to second guess yourself," said Osburn. "You have to know what you're doing, how to do it, and also how your counterparts are going to react."
With all the chemical training that happens at Kunsan, emergency management has¬ an important role in the response to chemical threats.
"Whenever it comes to CBRN response and the chemical threat that is real here at Kunsan Air Base, we take the lead and frontline," said Osburn. "People rely heavily on us to be able to get out, find contamination, report it and mitigate it as soon as possible so that we can get the airplanes and everything back in the air."
Hands on exercises like this one are an important training tool and the emergency management flight plans to hold more in the future.
"Practicing how you play is crucial to the success of the mission," said Osburn. "This training that we engaged in today was a perfect example of how we're honing those skills to become a harmonious unit, not just RoKaf and United States Air Force. We operate as one at Kunsan."