CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
After multiple exercises testing pre-deployment readiness, the 27th Special Operations Wing participated in the final assessment of operational deployment readiness and capabilities from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
The Operational Readiness Assessment is being performed to test the competence of Cannon’s Air Commandos in a deployed environment. By utilizing the premiere capabilities of the base, Cannon Airmen are able to simulate high-tempo operations in a location with chemical and artillery attacks while still performing their down-range tasks.
“The ORA is making sure we can do what we say we can do,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Brada, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief. “We’re simulating a deployed environment with a high risk of chemical attacks. We’re doing our job in heavy gear that can be restricting and testing how we react to all sorts of scenarios.”
The ORA had Air Commandos wearing up to 40 pounds of equipment while performing high-tempo operations while quickly switching between levels of Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear. During this exercise, not only do they have to quickly don appropriate gear, but events would occur to test the reflexes and adaptability of Air Commandos.
“I thought the active shooter was one of the best scenarios we had,” said Master Sgt. Ruben Melendez, 27 SOAMXS section chief. “People don’t consider things like active shooters when you already have to focus on chemical attacks. They tried to throw us for a loop, but we handled it well.”
Teams were tested on their ability to adapt to these scenarios, whether working on aircraft on the flightline, guarding entry control points or performing airdrops at Melrose Air Force Range.
“People from all over the base are participating over the full time that the assessment is going on,” Brada said. “We’re going 24-hours because that’s what we would do down range. During the day it’s a lot of maintenance on our side so our pilots can fly by the end of the night. There are people working communications, checkpoints, and more. Everyone's a player.”
Cannon has participated in three operational readiness exercises to prepare themselves for the assessment from Air Force Special Operations Command.
“I think the OREs really prepared us for this assessment,” Melendez said. “We constantly progressed and improved over time, and I think we did really well for the assessment. We definitely showed what the 27 SOW and its assets can do in a contested environment. I think we proved that we are fit to fight tonight.”