Wolf Pack Tales: A new class
7/3/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Sgt. Constructive: Hey ATSO!
Amn. Newbe: Uh, what'd you call me sergeant?
Sgt: No, no, get your ATSO - we've got training today.
Amn: Now you've really lost me.
Sgt: Just - c'mon, you'll see.
Amn: Ok, but I don't think we need to resort to name calling.
Chief Been-There: Hey Amn. Newbe, how's in-processing going? Y'know we've got an exercise coming up soon, you got everything you need? Plastic bags, duck tape, recall roster, Airman's Manual? Have you taken a look at the SPINS?
Amn: Yes Chief, I think so -wait- did you say take a look at the SPINS? First name calling now this? Sheesh. And why would I need plastic bags and duck tape?
Chief: Haha, don't worry. I know the lingo around here can take a while to get use to. Not to mention it sometime sounds like we work at a circus - Wolf, Phoenix, Wizard.
Amn: Yeah, I've noticed that ... I don't even know ... huh?
Chief: Well, it's a unique culture here at the Wolf Pack - we're a family and we've got a long, rich history. You'll start to get it soon enough.
Amn: I feel about as lost as my first day at basic training, with even more to know.
Chief: One important thing to remember is when it seems like there are too many items to remember, too much gear, or too much to do - don't forget how many Airmen have come before you and paved the way for us today so we can continue on in the mission. While we're always looking for ways to make things better, we've already been set up for success by those before us.
Sgt: (sitting alone, checking his email) Ah man - I've got augmentee duty again!
Chief: See my point?
Amn: Well I've got my Airman's Manual and I've looked over all my gear and made sure everything is in good condition, what else do I really need? Shouldn't that be enough?
Chief: I think it's about time for our training session to start - so just as soon as Sgt. Constructive over there finishes doing ... whatever it is he's doing.
Sgt: Sorry Chief, I'm here - let's do this. Ok, everyone I'm gonna go over a few points to keep in mind for the next exercise that our new IG wanted to get out.
1.Know how you will personally survive in a wartime/exercise environment by knowing your ATSO procedures cold.
2.Watch the IG/XP videos on SharePoint for proper ATSO demonstration.
3.Practice donning and doffing each MOPP level so that you can perform them quickly and under pressure.
4.Keep a positive attitude! Exercises bring you closer to the mission than most will ever experience, enjoy them and learn from them.
Amn: Can someone please explain what an ATSO is? Cause I know you're not talking about me...
Sgt: Ah no - we're not. Ok, so ATSO in a nutshell - let's all get out our ATSO guides together. What's the first thing we read: Ability to Survive and Operate. Think of this guide as an Airman's Manual: Wolf Pack Edition.
Amn: Wolf Pack Edition? Really?
Chief: I think what the good sergeant here is trying to say is the ATSO provides Korea, and Kunsan, specific guidance not addressed in the Airman's Manual. For example, Alarm Conditions: you won't hear Alarm Red like you see in the AM, but instead Alarm Blue - that's specific to South Korea. Zone Transition Points: that's specific to Kunsan because those change from base to base.
Amn: Ok, I think I'm getting it.
Chief: This is why we have these training sessions and base exercises. When it comes down to it, this is the time to ask questions, make mistakes and practice procedures.
Amn: Thanks Chief - now what's this business about reading while spinning?
To be continued...