Pittsburgh Reservists and Guardsman conduct joint EM training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hehnly
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Pittsburgh-area Reservists partnered with local Pennsylvania Air National Guardsmen to conduct joint Emergency Management training in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, Feb. 7, 2016.

Members of the 911th Airlift Wing teamed up with their neighboring National Guard unit, the 171st Air Refueling Wing, to execute biological response training in a cumulative training environment.

The 911th AW and 171st ARW have been linked for years by the runways of the Pittsburgh International Airport, but according to Master Sgt. Jessica Davis, the emergency management NCOIC with the 911th Airlift Wing, this may be the first time their emergency management shops conducted joint training.

"It is beneficial to work hand-in-hand with each other," said Senior Master Sgt. Mike Mollock, emergency management superintendent with the 171st Air Refueling Wing. "It allows us to meet skill set requirements for a deployed environment and it's definitely a plus-up for local area response capabilities."

In addition to meeting upgrade training requirements, the working relationship gives 911th AW EM members the opportunity to engage in more hands-on training with equipment that they would typically need to travel elsewhere to receive.

"Depending on how in-depth we get with the training, we may not have to travel to Georgia every year, other than to get the hands-on training on some of the new equipment coming into the career field," said Davis.

Currently the 911th AW EM personnel have to travel to Dobbins Air Reserve Base each year for two weeks of qualification training, but the working relationship between Davis and Mollock has the potential to save the Air Force the expense of sending the 911th's eight EM specialists to Georgia every year.

Davis and Mollock plan to have an ongoing working relationship, which involves an effort to develop joint training to be held bimonthly or at least quarterly.

The first joint training exercise divided members from each unit into teams and had them use biological detection equipment in a suspected biological situation to validate response protocols. Each team used specialized equipment to determine if their suspected powder was a potential hazard or not and if it could be identified with the available equipment.

"Each base has its separate mission, but we will take every opportunity possible to train together. It's a great opportunity for the experienced NCO's to nurture the up and coming Airmen on new equipment and processes," said Mollock.