By Carson Gerber For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE – Gunfire, explosions and smoke will roll through Grissom Air Reserve base this week as military Reservists participate in a real-world battle scenario to train for possible overseas missions.
Training begins today, and leads up to a full-scale battle exercise Sunday morning.
The scenario focuses on the protection of a Middle East country’s democratic voting process. During the exercise, an attack will occur that will test the Air Force, Army and Marine forces’ abilities to work together to render aid to and evacuate the injured, while still providing protection for the voting process.
“Military Reservists have to accomplish these kinds of missions around the world,” said public affairs specialist Mark Orders-Woempner. “It’s the kind of situation the military has run into before, and they need to be prepared for it.”
He said the exercise not only gives soldiers real-world experience, but also offers them a chance to work with Reservists from different branches of the military.
“We have a saying that we train the way we fight, and the way we fight now is in a joint military capacity,” Orders-Woempner said.
He said the scenario creates a very realistic battle environment at the air base, and the exercise will employ explosive and smoke-generating devices, as well as blank ammunition.
A propane bird cannon will be used to simulate explosions, and a Marine Corps helicopter will also be flying low over the base.
This is the second mass-casualty exercise hosted at Grissom. Last year, Orders-Woempner said the scenario focused on an IED attack on an Army convoy and how to deal with violent protestors.
“Everyone involved said it was phenomenal experience,” he said. “The troops loved it, the commanders loved it, and it showed what kind of training Grissom is truly capable of.”
Officials said the public should not be alarmed to hear loud noises like explosions, gun fire or sirens, or see smoke the morning of the exercise and over the next few days.