Polar Force 13-3 wraps up

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 19:00
Excercise designed to test readiness
F-22 Raptors sit on the flight line during Polar Force 13-3 Exercise on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson April 3.

The continuous 24-hour operational readiness exercise, Polar Force 13-3, came to a close Monday after a week of evaluating Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Air Forces deployment capabilities, despite weather complications.

“Arctic Warriors, congratulations on a very successful Polar Force 13-3 exercise,” said Air Force Col. Brian Duffy, 673d Air Base Wing commander. “Whether you were out front helping us get simulated people, equipment or aircraft ready for deployment, or whether you were working in our child development centers or manning our gates, you were all part of the collective success and we have a tremendous amount of thanks to give everyone.”

The 3rd Wing commander, Air Force Col. David Nahom, echoed sentiments of thanks to all his personnel and their hard work throughout the exercise.

“I think we learned a lot about how to operate in a non-permissive environment,” Nahom. “I think also we were probably fighting the conditions of the weather here in Alaska, more than the scenario at times.

Nahom concluded his assessment of the exercise by highlighting that, despite the weather, he thinks the 3rd Wing is more prepared to go forward to the next exercise and on to the exceptions next year.

The weeklong ORE helped validate and evaluate the wings’ ability to integrate, mobilize, and prepare assigned personnel, aircraft and equipment for their wartime mission.

Designed with long hours and a busy work load, the intent was to push Airmen to their limits so they can do their best didn’t go unnoticed.

“Aside from the 12-hour shifts, it’s not too bad,” said Airman 1st Class Terah Spear, 703rd Aircraft Maintence Squadron, aerospace propulsion apprentice, about her first exercise. “It kind of makes you think about what you’re doing so you can get used to it.”

Tech Sgt. Adam Aguilar, a member of the services Exercise Evaluation Team from the 673d Force Support Squadron agrees.

“It’s important to sharpen our contingency skills,” Aguilar said. “[This] gives us the opportunity to test our equipment and skills that we would otherwise not have the opportunity to until we got into the field.”

The process is designed to provide operational training to prepare for deployment situations. These scenarios include in-processing newly arrived overseas personnel from a Noncombatant Evacuation Operation, deploying Airmen, and preparing strategic mission postures from deployed locations.

The contributions of the Guardsmen and Reservist as contingency assets during real world operations helped increase the authenticity of Polar Force 13-3, and helped to make it a success.

“Our biggest success within civil engineer was the total force integration of active duty, Guard and Reserve,” said Chief Master Sgt. Keith Wilson, 176th Civil Engineer Squadron EET. “I think we have some challenges, but we can overcome those challenges. If we continue to work together, we’ll achieve success.”

Aguilar said he agreed with Chief Wilson’s assessment.

“I think that’s important to keep ties between our Guard and Reserve,” Aguilar said. “We will do the same job. It’s good to know who our counterparts are.”

The combined partnership of Active, Guard and Reserve was an important step in making Polar Force 13-3 a success.”I was extremely pleased with the effort the planning, execution and the ultimate total force combined effort that went into this exercise,” said Air Force Col. Donald Wenke, 176th Wing commander. “I think we all learned a lot out of it. I think we are going to get better day as we continue to exercise in the future and prepare for war time tasking’s and our readiness inspections in the future.”

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