Total Force Integration leads to successful decon training exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Adam C. Borgman
  • 927 Air Refueling Wing/Public Affairs
A 10,000 gallon fuel truck has rolled over and is leaking all over the roadway during rush hour. Seconds later at the MacDill Air Force Base fire station, fire fighters jump into their boots and strap on their suspenders to the beat of the piercing siren.

On scene, the firefighters arrive to meet members of the 6th Air Mobility Wing Bio-environmental flight and the 927th Air Refueling Wing, Emergency Management flight, to ensure all hazards are mitigated effectively.

Fortunately, this was just a training exercise with the three units as they prepare for real world risks.

The 6th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters hosted a joint responder HAZMAT decontamination training exercise with 6th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Bioenvironmental engineers and 927th Mission Support Group, Emergency Management technicians, June 24 at the MacDill crash fire station.

"Whenever we work together we have great communication and are able to complete the mission seamlessly," said Tech Sgt. Matthew Woods, 6th CES, fire protection chief. "Working with the reservists sometimes allow us to have a different perspective, many of the firefighters and emergency management Airmen do the same job as civilians and bring different ideas and skills to the table."

Total Force Integration is a system that allows the different components of the U.S. Air Force to operate cohesively and seamlessly as one team. Training together allows each component an opportunity to work with one another making for better communication and consistent mission completion.

"TFI allows people who don't normally work together to incorporate their different skills and create a working relationship with reservists that we may work with in the future, to more effectively complete the mission," said Woods. "Time is sometimes life or death; we don't have time onsite to learn how to communicate. Training like this prepares us in ways that are invaluable."

The training exercise consisted of responding to a simulated contamination site and training the responders on effective decontamination methods.

"This was a great experience," said Senior Airman Jason Priela, 927th Mission Support Group, emergency management technician. "As a reservist, we enjoy working with the active duty component, it allows us an opportunity to stay more proficient and learn new methods for doing our jobs."

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