• Published
  • By Air Force Lt. Col. Dave Kurle
  • 477th Force Support Squadron commander
As we begin what is the 477th Fighter Group's first-ever autonomous exercise, it's important to remember why we hold exercises in the military.

The answer is not, "because we can," contrary to some opinions.

At the most basic level, we hold exercises so that we develop the "muscle memory" to carry out our duties in wartime. The more ingrained and practiced a particular task, the better we are able to perform that task without really thinking about it.
When you're dealing with a complex set of variables - such as multiple units made up of individuals - it's crucial to develop, practice and maintain the relationships necessary to achieve a common goal.

In the case of this exercise, the goal is two-fold.

The first is to develop and maintain the ability to deploy people and equipment anywhere on the planet with 72-hours' notice. This is our goal for Friday. In the 477th Force Support Squadron, we will be processing 150 people from the group and preparing them to depart for a contingency.

In the FSS, some of you will be assisting in getting people to the combat zone, some of you will be "deploying" and a few of you will be doing both.

The second goal is to conduct our wartime duties in a combat environment.

Sometimes our wartime duties vary greatly from our duties at home station - this would be the case for our Military Personnel Section. For others, the duties are pretty much the same. Despite those differences, the added stressors, distractions and hardships in a deployed environment are common to everyone.

It is beneficial that we practice our wartime duties and simulate - as best we can - the added stress of a deployment to a combat zone. After all, it is not good to find yourself downrange never having received at least a taste of what it might be like.

Our nation provides us with a lot of resources and expects us to be ready to defend her skillfully and professionally at any time. To meet that expectation, we need to develop our "deployment muscles" through exercise.

During this UTA, please have your Airman's Manual handy, in case you're called upon to demonstrate to our inspection team that you can step up and respond. This is an open-book test, so use all the resources you have at your disposal, which is exactly what you would do in a real deployment.