Thunderbolt exercise shows aspect of deployment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kali L. Gradishar
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Approximately 200 members of Team Fairchild participated in Thunderbolt 08-01, an exercise that simulated sending the Airmen on a deployment to an overseas location, as the 801st Air Expeditionary Wing. In reality, the Airmen were transported to Camp Airey here to conduct operations similar to those in a deployment.

The simulated mission was to "provide air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and cargo movement," said Lt. Col. John DeLapp, 801st AEW commander during the exercise.

He also reiterated what has been said countless times on the home station, but noted its increased importance in a deployed environment - being a good wingman and keeping safety in our minds at all times is essential to the mission. He also noted the necessity of maintaining morale and staying active while deployed.

During the exercise, Airmen were tasked with conducting operations similar to those they would perform when actually deploying in their career field.

Various squadrons pulled together to make the efforts of the exercise a success.

The services squadron managed each meal, providing meals ready to eat and a hot meal for lunch to the Airmen. The logistics readiness squadron provided various forms of transportation to the "deployed" wing. The communication squadron provided just that, various means of communication at Camp Airey. The air refueling squadron simulated flying missions. Airmen from different squadrons assisted with providing security to the area. And others carried out tasks in specific to their career fields, as well.

Also, Airmen in-processed and out-processed similar to how they might do so for a real deployment, making the exercise seem as authentic as possible.

The three-day exercise provided an opportunity for Airmen to hone their skills that would be put to use in a deployed location, and it also provided additional training in becoming better equipped mentally and physically as an expeditionary Airmen, and it was a reminder of how operations can be conducted in a deployed environment.

Some Airmen were constantly reviewing their Airman's Manuals for various bits of information that would remain useful and others were quizzed on what they would do in certain situations, while still maintaining operations in Camp Airey in support of the exercise.