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151 ARW proves nuclear mission readiness

Master Sgt. Kurt Armstrong runs to the flight line following an alert given during an exercise April 6, 2014. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Collett/RELEASED)

Master Sgt. Kurt Armstrong runs to the flight line following an alert given during an exercise April 6, 2014. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Collett/RELEASED)

Salt Lake City --

The 151st Air Refueling Wing recently participated in an exercise designed to ensure unit preparedness in case of a nuclear attack. 

"This exercise was to determine our capability to respond to a strategic mission set," said Maj. Nathan Jones, a member of the 151st Inspector General team.  "In that mission set we have very critical duties that we are required to perform in the event of a nuclear war."

Lt. Col. Jonathan Boyd said that exercises like this test the unit's readiness and ability to respond during an emergency.

"They show us where the gaps are and help us determine where we can improve our processes," said Boyd.  "It also gives the commander a level of assurance that he can perform the mission if called upon to do so."

Lt. Col. Dan Boyack said Nuclear Operational Readiness Exercises take place annually to maintain a readiness standard according to Air Force guidelines.

"The nuclear deterrence mission is listed as the number one mission in the Air Force," said Boyack.  "It goes back to the Cold War days, but we still have that currency requirement."

Jones said most of the events involved with a NORE have to be simulated because events in real-time can happen over a course of weeks or months.

"Under normal conditions, we're talking about a time period of events," said Jones.  "World events will dictate the military's response.  We have to simulate what typically might happen over months."

Boyd said the exercise was a success because it showed the mission-readiness of the 151st ARW, and allowed for improvement of current processes.

"We demonstrated that we can perform the wartime mission," said Boyd.  "We were also able to identify a number of places where we could improve our processes, increase efficiency, and reduce expenditure of resources."

Though the long work weekend required time away from families for many Airmen, Boyd said he saw the dedication they put into their jobs to perform the mission successfully.

"This exercise demonstrated the commitment our traditional Guardsmen have," said Boyd.  "We pulled them away from their jobs on a Friday, they stepped up to the task, they spent their whole weekend working around the clock, and I think it just goes to demonstrate that America's Air National Guard is ready to respond whenever the nation needs it."