Members of the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron compete in Readiness Challenge X

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Spencer Contreras
  • Space Launch Delta 45

Members of the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron from Patrick Space Force Base competed against 11 teams of civil engineers from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and international allies, during Readiness Challenge X, from April 21-26 at Tyndall Air Force Base. The annual competition is designed to test the teams’ ability to complete tasks that could arise while setting up and maintaining a base in disputed, deteriorated, and operationally limited environments.

The competition consisted of multiple events over six days, with participants constructing and living in a simulated deployment environment for the entire duration.

Participants from the 45th CES were part of the Coalition Team, led by Capt. Kait Barry, 13th Space Warning Squadron base civil engineer.

“Training like this is paramount in the time of the
Great Power Competition” Barry said. “This type of training is exactly what we need to be able to demonstrate to those watching that we’re ready, we’re here for the fight.”

The teams took part in timed and scored competitions including:

Runway construction and repair

Heavy machinery operation

Shelter construction

Firefighting operations

Water infrastructure setup

Electrical repair

Power production

Explosive ordnance disposal

Chemical, biological radiological and nuclear exercises

Completing the events allowed the teams to demonstrate the knowledge and skill required in the scope of their usual duties, as well as giving them hands-on training with jobs and equipment that they may not have encountered before.

“This competition allows us to hone the skills that we don’t get the opportunity to practice day in and day out at our home stations,” Barry said.

The fourth day of competition featured an exercise where teams had to adapt to working during staged chemical attacks. They had to perform all of the daily tasks assigned to them, but with the added difficulty of doing so in a gas mask and layers of protective clothing.

“The Readiness Challenge is extremely relevant training,” Barry said. “We’re aware of the capabilities our adversaries have, and this exercise functions directly to demonstrate our own abilities, as well.”

Airmen were also able to observe the other teams during Readiness Challenge X in order to gain insight and study the different approaches teams took towards completing the same task. By gathering together in this collective training environment, teams are able to reoptimize their operating procedures.

This year, the 45th CES participants were not working solely alongside other American Airmen. Their team, the Coalition Team, was made of Airmen from U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force bases as well as civil engineers from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

“Joint training is essential,” Barry said. “Being able to work and communicate with our coalition partners brings us together and makes us all stronger.”

The RCAF also valued the chance to work together.

“We can expect the Canadian military to be interoperating with American forces in deployed environments and international situations,” said Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Adam Johnson, 8 Mission Support Squadron fire chief. “This training is absolutely critical for us as Canadians to learn how we can best work with Americans, so that we’re better prepared when the challenge comes.”

The competition was capped off with an award ceremony on the sixth day. The team from
Air Force Global Strike Command had the highest score over six days of performance and secured the win.

“The support among the team, specifically between the Canadian members and the U.S. Air Force, has been fantastic,” Barry said. “Their eagerness to learn and help each other wherever they can, that’s all I can ask for — I’m really proud of them.”

The 45th CES’ team may not have placed first in the challenge, but the members did not come away from the competition empty handed. The team will bring the knowledge and experience that was acquired during Readiness Challenge X with them back to PSFB and wherever the Great Power Competition takes them.