911th EM participate in Silver Flag training

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jessica Davis
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Five members of the 911th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Emergency Management Flight headed south to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, January 21-27, 2017, to take part in Silver Flag. More than 180 members from multiple active duty, Guard and Reserve bases traveled to the training site operated by Detachment 1, 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron [REDHORSE] Engineer Squadron, to participate in the weeklong exercise.

Silver Flag is a seven-day course that provides expeditionary combat support training to active duty, guard and reserve members of the Air Force, as well as to members of the Army and Marine Corps. For Airmen in any Civil Engineer specialty that fill a Unit Type Code, Silver Flag is required training every 36-months for active duty members or every 48-months for Guard and Reserve members.

During this training members of every CE specialty, as well as members from finance, personnel, manpower services and the army heavy equipment operators specialty, were in attendance to receive training in their respective areas as well as some CE specific training. This training included learning how to put up a small shelter system, an all-purpose tent that can be used for many purposes such as billeting, office space and storage areas.

The EM members received training that would help better prepare them in contingency and war-time environments, such as responding to a chemical attack or providing assistance to a fire department responding to an incident or accident.

“The training we receive at Silver Flag is not only a refresher on information that we already know, but it is training that keeps us mission ready,” said Mimidis.

During the initial weekend of training, Silver Flag participants were faced with a real-life test of the training. More than 70 tornadoes hit the southern states that weekend. After receiving notification of the tornado warning participants were directed to seek shelter immediately. Members were sheltered for close to an hour before given the all clear that the threat had passed. With winds at speeds of 68 mph, neighboring communities had homes destroyed, buildings damaged, and as many as 21 people were killed.

“Being put in an actual emergency situation helped me better understand the proper procedures when dealing with sheltering in place,” said Tech Sgt. Thomas Mimidis, EM specialist with the 911th EM. “It made me feel confident that my training could be applied to a real-world situation.”

On day six of the exercise, members were tested on everything learned during the week. In the exercise scenario, participants were “forwarded deployed” to a bare-base. During this time strict command and control was maintained at all times. 100 percent accountability of personnel and resources were sustained throughout the exercise. Participants also had to stay in continuous communication throughout all phases of the exercise.

The exercise included a rapid runway repair to a damaged runway, an initial bare base set-up, and the ability to open the runway for air traffic. The EM members provided on-scene response, conducted ground surveillance, worked with the fire department when requested, manned the Chemical Biological Radiologic Nuclear control center, ran routes after attacks and ensured the safety of the personnel by detecting for the presence of chemicals. This was done through continuous contact with the EM representative in the emergency operations center overseeing all operations. 

“From start to end, from deploying starting at 0600, to opening the base, completing all tasks, and re-deployment, took just over 15 hours, having ENDEX just after 2100 hours,” said Mimidis. “When you bring close to 200 personnel that have never worked together and give them less than a week to accomplish a goal this size, I would call it a success.”