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NEWS | Feb. 16, 2024

155th Air Refueling Wing demonstrates readiness in large-scale exercise

By Staff Sgt. Lisa Crawford Joint Force Headquarters - Nebraska National Guard

The 155th Air Refueling Wing conducted a large-scale readiness exercise, or LRE, on Feb. 2-4, 2024, at the Nebraska National Guard air base in Lincoln.

The purpose of the readiness exercise was to practice employing forces to contested, degraded and operationally limited environments while still maintaining mission essential tasks. The exercise was designed to test the capabilities and response of the entire 155th Air Refueling Wing to a variety of adverse situations in degraded operating environments.
The exercise involved coordination and integration of various elements that help enhance interoperability and communication between different units.
“The validation of this skill set is critical to the implementation of the National Defense Strategy which has shifted focus to near-peer competition,” said Col. Christopher Hesse, 155th Air Refueling Wing commander. “Our Airmen have once again shown they are ready and able to respond swiftly and effectively to any threat!”

Multiple scenarios were enacted during the 3-day exercise, most of which required the more than 850 Airmen assigned to the wing to complete daily functions while demonstrating their knowledge of MOPP, or mission-oriented protective posture, by wearing the gear that protects against chemical, biological and radiological attacks.

The Nebraska National Guard Airmen focused on achieving proper seals on their masks and securing their gear to prevent any exposure to their duty uniforms or skin throughout the exercise. After donning the MOPP gear themselves, they would conduct buddy checks to ensure fellow Airmen were adequately prepared as well.

While properly protected, the Airmen then performed their assigned mission essential tasks throughout a variety of scenarios, to include performing pre-flight checks a of KC-135 Stratotanker, responding to a simulated injured Airman, and surveying simulated hazardous areas to name a few.
The exercise emphasized the importance of self-protection while ensuring the completion of essential duties to maintain mission success. The Airmen also learned to inspect simulated M8 chemical detection paper and completed simulated uniform decontamination of their specialized suits.
The exercise highlighted the 155th Air Refueling Wing’s commitment to maintaining readiness and enhancing the skills of its Airmen. With well-considered planning and rigorous training, the wing maintains expertly trained personnel who are prepared and willing to respond to the nation’s needs at a moment’s notice.