Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea -- KABOOM!
"ALARM BLUE, MOPP 4...THIS IS NOT AN EXERCISE!"
Holy Shnikees, Batman! Not an exercise?! I didn't sign up for this! KABOOM!
As I jolt awake, I remember that I am at Kunsan Air Base and am forward deployed 150 miles south from an unpredictable adversary with chemical weapons capable of reaching Kunsan in a matter of minutes.
Recent posturing and current events demonstrate that that tension on the peninsula still exists and the 1953 Korean Armistice remains precarious as evident by this recent headline:
North Korea's military has threatened to strike a South Korean border area where activists plan to launch leaflets from balloons. South Korea immediately vowed to retaliate if attacked.
If this doesn't give you time to pause, then "Wake Up, Wolf Pack - It's Go Time!"
The last couple of months we've had a few 1-day Operational Readiness Exercises to keep us familiar with combat skills and prepare us for future week-long exercises.
Unfortunately, the results of these 1-day OREs have been mixed at best. Therefore, it is imperative that every Wolf Pack Airmen is "ALL IN" during future OREs. These OREs keep us and other US Forces Korea honed against unexpected North Korean aggression and help the Wolf Pack ramp up to excel in our Pacific Air Force Readiness Inspection (RI+) in April 2013.
Here are some tips on how to excel and demonstrate you are ready to "Defend the Base, Accept Follow-On Forces and Take the Fight North".
1. Special Instructions - Read, understand and know them like the back of your hand.
Pay particular attention to areas that will affect you personally and memorize the portions such as the sign andcountersign, chemical codes and duress words that you must use during wartime and OREs.
2. Ability to Survive and Operate (ATSO) - This is the bread and butter of wartime conditions. If you cannot survive and function in a wartime, chemical environment you are of no use. Practice Self-aid and Buddy Care so you can save yourself and fellow Wolf Pack members if the need arises, and know your decon procedures - if you have any doubt, review the videos found on the Wolf Pack SharePoint page.
3. Subject Matter Expertise - Be able to perform your wartime job better than anyone else on base. Take pride in your role here at the Wolf Pack and remember, you are mission critical - we are counting on you.
4. SENSE OF URGENCY AND ATTITUDE - This is the most important attribute of all! When in doubt, react in a controlled fashion as if your life depended on it...because it probably does. When you hear, "ALARM BLUE, MOPP 4," be the first to take cover, get your mission oriented protective postures gear on, assist and check your wingman - spring into action with gusto!
We have several OREs before our formal PACAF RI+, but more importantly we are always 36-48 hours away from real-world contingency operations here in Korea.
Are you prepared for "Go Time"?