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'Bomb' tests mission readiness

A firefighter from the 115th Civil Engineer Squadron prepares a water hose for use during a bomb exercise at Truax Field, Madison, Wis., Aug. 23, 2013. The Hazmat Pharmacy Environmental building was smoking following a simulated bomb explosion, so firefighters rushed to the scene to rescue victims inside. The exercise was part of a new Air Force Inspection System initiative. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

A firefighter from the 115th Civil Engineer Squadron prepares a water hose for use during a bomb exercise at Truax Field, Madison, Wis., Aug. 23, 2013. The Hazmat Pharmacy Environmental building was smoking following a simulated bomb explosion, so firefighters rushed to the scene to rescue victims inside. The exercise was part of a new Air Force Inspection System initiative. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Smoke flowed from the front door of the Hazmat Pharmacy Environmental building during a bomb exercise at Truax Field, Madison, Wis., Aug. 23, 2013. The EOD team added realism by filling that building up with smoke, giving the rescue teams a challenge when removing the victims. The exercise was part of a new Air Force Inspection System initiative. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Smoke flowed from the front door of the Hazmat Pharmacy Environmental building during a bomb exercise at Truax Field, Madison, Wis., Aug. 23, 2013. The EOD team added realism by filling that building up with smoke, giving the rescue teams a challenge when removing the victims. The exercise was part of a new Air Force Inspection System initiative. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing participated in a unexpected exercise designed to test mission readiness on base Aug. 23, 2013.  An unauthorized front-gate entry and a simulated explosion started the exercise leading to a 'fire' in Building 411.   The explosive ordinance disposal team here added realism by filling that building up with smoke, giving the rescue teams a challenge when removing the victims.  (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Roth)

Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing participated in a unexpected exercise designed to test mission readiness on base Aug. 23, 2013. An unauthorized front-gate entry and a simulated explosion started the exercise leading to a 'fire' in Building 411. The explosive ordinance disposal team here added realism by filling that building up with smoke, giving the rescue teams a challenge when removing the victims. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Roth)

Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing participated in a unexpected exercise designed to test mission readiness on base Aug. 23, 2013.  An unauthorized front-gate entry and a simulated explosion started the exercise leading to a 'fire' in Building 411.   The explosive ordinance disposal team here added realism by filling that building up with smoke, giving the rescue teams a challenge when removing the victims.  (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Roth)

Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing participated in a unexpected exercise designed to test mission readiness on base Aug. 23, 2013. An unauthorized front-gate entry and a simulated explosion started the exercise leading to a 'fire' in Building 411. The explosive ordinance disposal team here added realism by filling that building up with smoke, giving the rescue teams a challenge when removing the victims. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Roth)

MADISON, Wis. -- A large explosion shakes the base. Smoke flows from the front door Building 411. Police vehicles and fire trucks surround the scene.

Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing participated in an unexpected on-base exercise designed to test mission readiness Aug. 23.

"All of the participants were unaware of the event, or even if there was going to be an event," said Col. Kevin Philpot, 115th FW mission support group deputy commander. "We had about 12 people involved in the planning and execution."

In addition to the inspection team, there were several units that participated in the exercise including the fire department, explosive ordnance disposal, emergency management, emergency medical services, operations, security forces squadron, force support squadron and the medical group.

The exercise began when a man ran past security with a backpack, got into the Hazmat Pharmacy Environmental building and simulated blowing up a bomb. The EOD team added realism by filling that building up with smoke, giving the rescue teams a challenge when removing the victims.

"The exercise was a great opportunity to test our response plans and EMS triage plan," said Master Sgt. Gary Peck, 115th SFS fire chief. "Everything went really well."

This was the first of many exercises planned for the 115th FW. The Wing Inspection Team has been put in place to ensure members of the 115FW are mission-ready at all times.

"This is a complete cultural change to how we do inspections," said Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, 115th FW commander.

In the past, inspectors were brought in from outside of the 115th FW. Now, the WIT will take care of inspecting all units on a more regular basis by developing unexpected real-world training.

"Our focus is on mission readiness, not inspection readiness." Wiegand said. "We're going to have really challenging scenarios pushing us to fail. Each day you drive off Truax Field, I want you to ask yourself, 'Am I ready?'"

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