PAR teams serve vital role in operational success

Base Info
Airmen guard a cordon that keeps people from entering the area around a simulated unexploded ordnance during Operational Readiness Exercise Beverly Midnight 13-02 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, March 20, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexis Siekert)
Airmen guard a cordon that keeps people from entering the area around a simulated unexploded ordnance during Operational Readiness Exercise Beverly Midnight 13-02 at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, March 20, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexis Siekert)

PAR teams serve vital role in operational success

by: Master Sgt. Thomas Longworth, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron | .
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published: March 23, 2013

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The Air Force must be postured to maintain the ability to survive and operate in all contingency environments. One of the most effective ways to gather information following an event, such as a missile attack, is through the use of post attack reconnaissance teams.

PAR teams are at the core of base recovery after attack. They field data and provide information to base decision makers to develop strategies to defend Osan, execute combat operations, and receive follow-on forces. Unit commanders are tasked to organize, train and equip PAR teams based on the size of their squadrons, area of responsibility and scope of their mission. In most cases, units will have more and one PAR team comprised of no less than two people per team. While some teams may receive specific training to their organization, all teams are equipped with the same core capabilities such as: unexploded ordinance recognition, chemical agent detection, and self-aid and buddy care.

By now, we all should know the typical battle rhythm. When a threat exists, or an attack occurs, Alarm Blue is declared. When the attack is over and no longer affects Osan, the base transitions into Alarm Black. During Alarm Black, chemical hazards and/or UXOs are suspected or present and PAR Teams go to work. PAR teams sweep an identified route in and around their works centers to look for such hazards as UXOs, chemical agents, and facility damage. Additionally, they look for anyone who may have been injured during an attack and provide self-aid and buddy care as necessary.

Throughout the whole process, PAR teams relay information to their respective unit control center. Each UCC consolidates their PAR sweep data to pass information to the emergency operation center. The EOC uses this information to develop and execute a recovery plan based on mission requirements. For instance, aircraft generation may be the number one priority at that particular moment. It becomes important to reduce the chemical protective levels in those areas to eliminate the added thermal stress of protective equipment. The way this is done is the EOC reviews all PAR sweep data to develop a site picture of where hazards are on base, if at all. If there are no hazards in the area supporting generation, the base can resume normal operations and reduce chemical protection levels.

None of this would be possible without the PAR teams collecting information after an attack. The take away here is, while some may perceive PAR team assignment as a menial additional duty, the recovery of Osan Air Base's mission relies heavily upon the information collected by each and every PAR team.

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