Cannon, Hurlburt airmen combine for challenge

USAF courtesy photo Staff Sgt. Amy Seaton (left), 27th Special Operations Wing and Staff Sgt Dante Sangstack, both with the 27th SOW, check the chemical levels during the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Challenge.

By Jeremy Webster: AFSOC Public Affairs

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. — Airmen from the 1st and 27th Special Operations Wings participated in Air Force Special Operations Command’s first chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear exercise challenge here the week of Oct. 6.

The teams from Cannon AFB and Hurlburt Field spent the week competing against each other to see who would represent AFSOC at the Air Force-wide CRBNE challenge. Cannon AFB won the challenge and will be competing at Brook City-Base, San Antonio, Texas, in March.

“The challenge was a test to see Cannon and Hulburt’s CBRNE teams’ response to different chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear threats posed against them on base or deployed,” said Maj. Phillip Goff, AFSOC command bioenvironmental engineer.

Both teams went through four half-day challenges. One of the scenarios was a chemical attack. A car ran the front gate and sprayed a mystery chemical before it crashed into the base exchange, causing an explosion. The teams had to identify what the chemical substance was and if there was a threat to the base.

“Our ultimate goal is that each team leaves this challenge better prepared to respond to an unknown event,” said Major Goff. “This is a win-win situation because both teams were able to receive hands-on training.”

Bioenvironmental engineers and the civil engineers emergency management team, along with airmen from the laboratory and public health, made up the teams that participated in the AFSOC CBRNE challenge.

Previously the challenge was bioenvironmental engineers against bioenvironmental engineers, said Major Goff.

The CBRNE challenge began as an U.S. Air Forces in Europe training exercise before the Bioenvironmental Engineering Corporate Board decided to expand the exercise to include all the major commands.

Due to staffing and the deployment cycles, last year was the first year AFSOC sent a team to the Air Force-wide challenge.