126th Force Support Squadron completes bivouac, hones deployment skills

  • Published
  • By Airman Dustin Clary
  • 126th Air Reufeling Wing
The 126th Force Support Squadron (FSS) recently participated in a pre-deployment exercise on the grounds of the 126th Air Refueling Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The June 5 exercise was the first of its type since the military personnel flight and the services flight merged in April 2009, forming the current FSS.

The pre-deployment exercise consisted of a war-time scenario conducted at a mock military encampment, also known as a bivouac. The exercise focused on training in search and recovery, chemical warfare, food services, and mortuary services.

During the search and recovery scenario the FSS personnel practiced normal and expedient search and recovery (S&R) procedures as well as remains recovery and mortuary affairs.

Tech. Sgt. Melanie Voyles, the 126th ARW Prime Readiness in Base Services (RIBS) manager was an observer and leader during the recovery scenario. Voyles described normal S&R efforts where troops form a single file line and walk in the same direction while looking for missing personnel or missing remains. She stated that normal S&R would be performed when there were no hostiles in the area.

While running the expedient recovery scenario, the FSS simulated a high stress speedy recovery, which would be used in the field if troops were under enemy fire.

The FSS also practiced their chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) skills in a simulated war-time scenario during a simulated chemical attack on their workspace. During the attack, the FSS members had to don their personal protective equipment and perform proper chemical detection and decontamination of personnel and equipment.

As part of their food services training, the FSS set up their own single pallet expeditionary kitchen or SPEK. From that kitchen the FSS has the ability to serve full hot meals to deployed members in a forward deployed location. To practice with the SPEK, food service personnel prepared lunch for their fellow Airmen.

Training is very important to the FSS according to Sgt. Weber. After this exercise she believes that her troops are ready to deploy at a moment's notice.

Upon conclusion of the bivouac, FSS members had succeeded in their mission; they found their strengths and weakness and plan to keep practicing for future exercises, deployments, or mobilizations.