Sub-zero temps won't stop the warfighter

  • Published
  • By Delanie Stafford
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
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.”