377th ABW takes part in Exercise Global Thunder 21

  • Published
  • By John Cochran
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 377th Air Base Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base conducted a series of training events, starting Oct. 19, as one of Air Force Global Strike Command’s bases participating in the U.S. Strategic Command “Exercise Global Thunder 21.”

Throughout the week’s activities on base, 377th ABW Airmen participated in various scenarios designed to provide training opportunities and to test and validate command, control and operational procedures.

Col. David S. Miller, 377th Air Base Wing commander and installation commander at Kirtland AFB, said, “The base’s involvement in the U.S. Strategic Command’s Global Thunder 21 exercise is vital to the wing’s wartime readiness.”

“During Exercise Global Thunder 21, we tested the 377th ABW’s ability to respond when called upon by the president and the secretary of defense in times of international armed conflict. Just like when an individual exercises to train for fitness or competition, our organization needs to exercise our capability to train for combat – the ultimate competition,” he said.

The 377th ABW’s inspector general explained how the wing wrings extra value from the exercise by adding local training events.

“Exercise Global Thunder is United States Strategic Command’s premier annual assessment of its operational capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Ronald Clough. “Although Kirtland’s primary mission of providing nuclear logistics directly supports USSTRATCOM, the 377th ABW also uses the exercise to conduct additional unit-level readiness exercises to deploy forces, ensure continuity of operations, protect critical base assets, and respond to a broad range of chemical, biological and radiological attacks.”

One event evaluated reactions to an active-shooter incident, which included security forces and mass-casualty responses and medical triage, in addition to realistic simulations of gunfire.

The exercise’s deployment scenario involved readiness and reporting of an installation mass-deployment process. Airmen received short-notice orders for reporting, and multiple 377th ABW agencies executed processing of assets and personnel, equipment issue, medical actions and cargo for deployment to ensure timely and effective execution of combatant command force requirements.

The 377th ABW inspection team manager described how the base’s events support higher headquarters requirements.

“The purpose of Exercise Global Thunder 21 is to validate the installation’s readiness to meet the chief of staff of the Air Force’s strategic priorities in support of Air Force Global Strike Command’s air base defense concept of operations,” said James Dalleska. “We accomplished this requirement by inspecting the wing’s response to deployment orders, an active-shooter incident with installation lockdown, elevated force-protection measures, implementation of the barrier plan, and response to a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear event in the form of a suspicious package.”

Exercise Global Thunder 21 is a U.S. Strategic Command annual command and control and field training exercise designed to train Defense Department forces and assess joint operational readiness across all of U.S. Strategic Command’s mission areas, with a specific focus on nuclear readiness. The exercise provides training opportunities for participants to deter, and if necessary, defeat a military attack against the United States and to employ forces as directed by the president.

Key players throughout the exercise were the 377th Security Forces Group’s Defenders.

“Exercise Global Thunder 21 was an exceptional opportunity to challenge our world-class Defenders with realistic warfighting and installation-protection scenarios,” said Col. Chris Neiman, 377th Security Forces Group commander. “We’ve been able to hone key skills and leverage teamwork to demonstrate the protection of Global Strike and our mission partners’ critical assets, including our most precious resource — the Team Kirtland community.”

The U.S. nuclear enterprise is training to ensure and enhance the readiness, effectiveness and safety of America’s strategic deterrence force.

“We know that some people were inconvenienced while base access, activities and facilities were restricted during training exercises,” Miller said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding while we conducted training for our wartime mission.”

Exercise Global Thunder 21 provided training opportunities in all U.S. Strategic Command mission areas, with a specific focus on nuclear readiness. This exercise employed global operations in coordination with other combatant commands, services, appropriate U.S. government agencies, and allies to deter, detect, and, if necessary, defeat strategic attacks against the United States and its allies.