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85th EIS tests capabilities in natural disaster exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Devyn Waits
  • 81st Training Wing

The 85th Engineering Installation Squadron conducted a Cyberspace Infrastructure Damage Assessment and Restoral Actions exercise, May 16 – 23.

Given that a higher-than-average number of hurricanes is predicted for the 2024 hurricane season, the exercise was organized to test the unit’s crisis response capabilities with Robins Air Force Base as the objective.

“There’s been discussion on the necessary equipment and personnel we need for this kind of scenario, so we conducted this exercise to evaluate our ability to depart the compound within 72 hours of notification,” said Maj. William Douglass, 85th EIS director of operations. “In addition to a crisis response, we wanted to explore alternate locations to stage equipment if Keesler AFB were projected to be hit by a severe storm.”

The operation was divided into a sequence of phases to ensure Airmen completed mission-critical tasks, mobilize vehicles, and that operations went smoothly under limited blocks of time.

“We have just 24 hours for each set of tasks before we’re required to move on to the next one,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Connors, 85th EIS operations superintendent. “First, we identified what needs to go, inventoried the equipment then marked that phase as complete. After carefully packing the cables and other equipment onto a palette, we loaded them onto flatbed trucks using our forklifts and carefully inspected them for being properly fastened, as we’ll be driving over rough roads when we’re heading to Robins AFB.”

As the Airmen saw and simultaneously demonstrated how collaboration resulted in unit capabilities, the exercise was also an opportunity to identify ways of further increasing mission-readiness.

 

“We can take what we learned and use it when we’re making decisions in areas of training we need to modify for the Airmen to work as efficiently as possible within our mission set,” said Connors. “Additionally, we’re identifying challenges that can potentially happen, like our commander said, that’ll make us leaner, faster and able to respond more rapidly in the long run. I will say, even though this exercise was for reviewing areas of improvement, having not done it in a while, I’d say we did well and definitely hit the mark.”