Airmen from Hurlburt Field’s Mission Sustainment Team recently underwent intensive cold weather training at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base.
- The training prepared them for real-world operations and larger exercises amid evolving global threats, according to Hurlburt Field.
The state-of-the-art McKinley lab simulated bone-chilling temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit during the exercise. According to 2nd Lt. Andre Jackman, commander of the Mission Sustainment Team, the extreme conditions let them test capabilities and unify expertise from 26 career fields to overcome challenges.
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Setota Touchette, 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron MST personnel, explained the practical aspect of their training.
- “We’re here testing the manpower and the capabilities we have as a team, setting up and tearing down in a cold weather environment,” said Touchette. “This exercise prepares us for the yearly Emerald Warrior exercise and helps us understand the requirements for sustaining a camp in cold weather.”
Airman 1st Class Jonah Williams said it readies them for cold climate deployments by teaching them to swiftly establish tents, shelter, food and other necessities.
The team also learned how equipment and personnel operate differently in frigid environments. According to Master Sgt. Luis Velez, the exercise scientifically measured their capabilities with current gear and manpower.
The McKinley Lab’s extreme cold was a new experience for the Mission Sustainment Team. Lt. Jackman said the annual training should become regular practice to hone skills and align with national defense priorities.
- Msgt. Velez said the unique experience enhances mission readiness, ensuring they can face challenges wherever they arise.