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Sub-zero temps won't stop the warfighter

Staff Sgt. Jianna Goto, 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron decentralized material support supervisor coordinates cargo requirements inside the Installation Deployment Readiness Cell at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska Jan. 29, 2019. The members participated in Phase I of Operational Readiness Exercise Winter Havoc that tested Offutt’s ability to process and deploy a large amount of personnel and equipment on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

Staff Sgt. Jianna Goto, 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron decentralized material support supervisor coordinates cargo requirements inside the Installation Deployment Readiness Cell at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Jan. 29, 2019. The members participated in Phase I of Operational Readiness Exercise Winter Havoc that tested Offutt AFB’s ability to process and deploy a large amount of personnel and equipment on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

Staff Sgt. Jianna Goto, left, and Senior Airman Dylan Gilbert, 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron decentralized material support specialists, weigh cargo inside the Installation Deployment Readiness Cell yard at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska Jan. 29, 2019, as part of a deployment exercise. The members participated in Phase I of Operational Readiness Exercise Winter Havoc that tested Offutt’s ability to process and deploy large amounts of personnel and equipment on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

Staff Sgt. Jianna Goto, left, and Senior Airman Dylan Gilbert, 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron decentralized material support specialists, weigh cargo inside the Installation Deployment Readiness Cell yard at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Jan. 29, 2019, as part of a deployment exercise. The members participated in Phase I of Operational Readiness Exercise Winter Havoc that tested Offutt AFB’s ability to process and deploy large amounts of personnel and equipment on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

Offutt Airmen move cargo inside the Installation Deployment Readiness Cell yard at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska Jan. 29, 2019, while participating in Phase I of Operational Readiness Exercise Winter Havoc. The exercise tested Offutt’s ability to process and deploy a large amount of personnel and equipment on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

Airmen move cargo inside the Installation Deployment Readiness Cell yard at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Jan. 29, 2019, while participating in Phase I of Operational Readiness Exercise Winter Havoc. The exercise tested Offutt’s ability to process and deploy a large amount of personnel and equipment on short notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Delanie Stafford)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFNS) -- Offutt Air Force Base Airmen battled through some of the coldest weather to hit Nebraska in decades as they participated in the first 2019 Operational Readiness Exercise held here January 28 – 30.

The exercise, appropriately named Winter Havoc, tested Offutt AFB’s ability to process a large amount of troops and cargo.

“This was the first time we’ve done an exercise like this in six years,” said Capt. Samantha Dinardo, 55th Logistics Readiness Squadron Installation Deployment Readiness Cell installation deployment officer. “The scope of the cargo we processed was far larger than what a regular exercise would look like. So this was the first time pretty much the entire base has seen something like this.”

All together, the IDRC and Deployment Control Cell processed 120 increments of cargo, weighing 236.4 short tons, as well as 560 personnel and 10 simulated aircraft called chalks.

For a deployment of this size, 80 additional personnel from across Offutt AFB were trained to augment the IDRC.

The three day exercise ran around the clock and many personnel worked 12 hour shifts. Dinardo said that the size of the exercise and the cold weather challenged her team.

Those who worked outdoors with cargo faced frigid temperatures that barely broke zero with wind chills that felt like 30 degrees below zero. As a result, personnel had to work in cycles.

“It was cold,” said Staff Sgt. Jianna Goto, 55th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron decentralized material support supervisor. “We just dressed warmly, and after a couple of minutes in the cold, we would go back inside the scale house or inside the building to warm up.”

The cold weather also caused two tractors to break slowing down operations.

Dinardo said the experience gained by her staff and the augmentees will go a long way towards future exercises and deployments.

“We did a decent job,” Dinardo said. “But these things come with practice, and unless we keep practicing it, we won’t get better.”

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