Well, this is Thanks Giving week, and therefore a short week. Last week we had an exercise. For those who don't know, that's what we call our war games, or wartime training in the Air Force. We dress up in our battle armor and chemical warfare suits and practice for the real thing. I can't say that it's all realistic, but the training is something that we need to be sure we'll be ready for the real thing.
We don't do live fire training here in the Air Force, though I know that other branches have in the past done live fire training. I can't say they still do today in all honesty, but I know they used to within the last 25 years. My father is a retired Marine, and I know he had live fire exercises. The Air Force doesn't because of safety issues; instead, we use blanks. Sometimes we joke around like little kids yelling, "I shot you," "no you didn't!" We have a little fun with it. No one I know actually enjoys the exercises, in fact, most of us hate it. It cuts into personal time because we normally have to do 12 hour shifts, sometimes longer depending on the timing of a simulated enemy attack. It really screws up our sleep cycle and we generally feel like we've got jet lag for the next several days.
Anyway, some of the training includes doing our jobs with a gas mask and gloves and the rest of the chemical gear on. It may not sound to tough, but it a lot more difficult than it seems. We have 2 pairs of gloves, so doing things like turning wrenches, or swinging a hammer, or pulling a trigger suddenly becomes 10 times harder because you can no longer feel what your holding, and there isn't much room for movement inside the trigger guard of the M-16. Peripheral vision is very limited because of the gas mask, so driving becomes more difficult, not to mention using the gas and brakes are tough when you are now wearing rubber boots over your combat boots, making your feet about one to two inches longer and wider.
We train on repairing craters, doing damage assistants, facility repair, facility construction, and actual combat among other things. We "kill" off people to see what the next person in the chain of command will do and if they can handle the stepped up responsibility they suddenly find themselves in. That was one thing everyone hoped for. If you got "killed" you got to go home for the rest of your shift, you came back the next shift though.
Well, just thought I'd give you a very brief glimpse of some of the war time training we do. We've been doing one every month and it lasts about a week at a time, though we won't be having one in December. If anyone has any questions regarding any specific types of training, just respond to one of my posts, and I'll let you know whatever I can.