More than 370 California Air National Guard Airmen assigned to the 163rd Attack Wing at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., took part in a wing-wide readiness training exercise May 12-14.
The exercise continued a late 2021 deployment training exercise, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rey Tanuwidjaja, 163rd Attack Wing, California Air National Guard, director of inspections.
Grizzly Thunder 22-3 tested service members’ ability to rapidly respond to simulated attacks in a deployed environment from a near-peer adversary, using conventional and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Events played out over three days across three facilities.
The low static crackle from a disembodied voice, better known as the “Giant Voice,” announces the order to lower or elevate the Mission Oriented Protective Posture level. This call to action has Airmen don their suits, boots, gloves, and other equipment and react accordingly.
The overarching scenario is written and carried out with input from the subject matter experts across each participating organization, said Tanuwidjaja. If service members are operating heavy equipment in a contested environment, there are certain tactics, techniques and procedures involved. Inspectors rely on wing inspection team members to effectively grade the tasks.
Air Force wings are required to conduct annual readiness training exercises.
Airmen donned mission-oriented protective posture suits to protect from hazardous contaminants at any point in the exercise. They patrolled perimeters, operated heavy equipment, set up shelters, and fixed broken or malfunctioning equipment in near triple-digit temperatures. Some service members played the roles of insurgents or casualties.
For the exercise, meals ready to eat were issued for all wing participants, said Master Sgt. Christina Shaw, 163d Force Support Squadron, California Air National Guard. The unit also set up a mobile kitchen and prepared hot meals for service members who could safely make their way to the dining hall.
“I like how they’re making it as realistic an experience as possible,” said Shaw. “These are possible scenarios we can encounter when we’re deployed. This is the first time in the 15 years I’ve been in the unit where we’ve gone to this level of detail. Some of us don’t wear the uniform every day, and it’s important to get a refresher and exercise that muscle memory to complete our jobs in high-stress situations.”