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Airmen battle enemy, elements in latest readiness exercise

Airmen take cover from simulated enemy fire at North Base during the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Airmen take cover from simulated enemy fire at North Base during the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Airmen in full mission oriented protective posture gear practice first aid on a casualty dummy during the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Airmen in full mission oriented protective posture gear practice first aid on a casualty dummy during the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Airmen take cover and return fire during the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6 at North Base. Their mission was to protect their forward operating base in a far away country from enemy attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Airmen take cover and return fire during the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6 at North Base. Their mission was to protect their forward operating base in a far away country from enemy attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

On a cold, dark and dreary day, 80 Airmen put on their mission oriented protected posture suits, grabbed their weapons and went to war at North Base for the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6. Their mission was to protect their forward operating base in a far away country from enemy attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

On a cold, dark and dreary day, 80 Airmen put on their mission oriented protected posture suits, grabbed their weapons and went to war at North Base for the latest readiness exercise Dec. 6. Their mission was to protect their forward operating base in a far away country from enemy attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

On a cold, dark and dreary day, 80 Airmen put on their mission oriented protected posture suits, grabbed their weapons and went to war.

Their mission was to protect their forward operating base from enemy attack.

Sporadic machine gun fire and loud bangs could be heard from outside the FOB.

This was the scene for Edwards AFB’s latest readiness exercise, which lasted the entire week from Dec. 3-7.

Earlier in the week, wing and tenant unit Airmen processed through the Personnel Deployment Function where they received all their gear and prepared to deploy, with the final exercise event taking place at Edwards AFB’s North Base.

“Our 6 December event simulated our forces operating in a forward operation location (FOL) in a [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] contested environment,” said Master Sgt. Victor Alvarez, 412th Test Wing Inspector General Office.

Enemy forces played by other Edwards Airmen simulated the attacks while the “deployed” Airmen returned fire with weapons equipped with blank ammunition. First aid and chemical/biological protection measures were also practiced.

North Base was picked as the location due to its rugged and isolation.  

“We wanted to put them in the most austere conditions possible,” said Randall Wells, 412th TW IG Office.

While many Edwards Airmen are not strangers to deploying, quarterly readiness exercises are done to focus on full spectrum combat readiness, according to exercise planners, which is a theme in the 2018 National Defense Strategy and a priority of chief of staff of the Air Force, Gen. David Goldfein.

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