ATSO rodeo helps ensure Warhawks ready for combat

  • Published
  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 55th Wing participated in an Ability to Survive and Operate rodeo at Offutt Air Force Base Feb. 10, 2023.

An ATSO rodeo is designed to refresh and instruct Airmen on the skills needed to accomplish the mission during contingencies both at home station and deployed, including remote and contested environments.

“This is just the beginning for us as we look to build a readiness culture within our wing,” said Col. Kristen Thompson, 55th Wing commander. “The future fight is going to be far more complex than what we’ve faced over the past two decades.”

As the Department of Defense’s focus continues to shift to our near peer adversaries and the rapidly changing and interconnected Indo-Pacific region, events like an ATSO rodeo are becoming increasingly more important.

“The return of the great power competition is forcing us to look at how we train for combat and there’s no doubt we need to be ready to generate air power in a combat environment like what the ATSO rodeo provided,” Thompson said.

Airmen trained on alarm warning signals; operating in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives environment; tactical combat casualty care; post-attack reconnaissance procedures and decontamination procedures.

In addition, 55th Operations Group and Maintenance Group Airmen launched an aircraft in Mission Oriented Protective Posture suits, or MOPP gear, during the exercise.

Over the next few months, the 55th Wing will also host a generation exercise where Airmen will process personnel and cargo for deployment, as well as another ATSO rodeo.

These training opportunities all lead up to Exercise Iron Lightning, the wing’s readiness exercise validation event in early May.

“The goal is to have everyone trained and comfortable with working in this type of environment by the REV,” Thompson said. “So far I’ve been very pleased with our team, and I know we look forward to increasing our combat capability and lethality.”