Offutt got ERRE

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing/Public Affairs

Offutt participated in a base wide energy resiliency readiness exercise Apr. 24, 2024, here.

The Department of the Air Force is conducting ERREs to determine if installations can meet mission objectives during loss of power and water events. Some team Offutt members came to work expecting a normal day on base, but suddenly everything went dark. The command worked with Omaha Public Power District to turn off the electricity.

“In the event that we have communications going dark or if we suffer a power outage, we have alternate locations that weather forecasters can go to and that is what we are exercising or practicing today,” said Airman 1st Class Denis Semeryuk, 55th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster.

The 55th OSS weather forecasters did not let the lack of electricity prevent them from providing weather updates to the control tower. Forecasters sent runners to the tower on the top of every hour and they also had a direct line extreme emergencies due to weather changes.

“We have two sides to our job, it is the mission side and the airfield side where in a situation where we don’t have all of our tools on hand we send forecasters downstairs here in tower to basically observe the skies to make sure that the aircraft have a safe landing or a safe takeoff while mission’s people stay upstairs and monitor upstream weather events and makes the actual flight path of the aircraft is okay,” Semeryuk said.      

Some team Offutt members experience some problems along the way but were able to overcome the ERRE challenges.

“We were right in the middle of getting ready to step to the jet when it went out and it provided a few bumps in the road for us but really we have backups for everything,” 1st Lt. Zach Henson, 38th Reconnaissance Squadron navigator. “We were trying to get weather when we were initially briefing but it is multiple ways we can receive information. We can get it on our iPad, we can get it on our computer with backup power, we can get it on our phones, we can call, or we can use the radios on the plane.”

The 55th Wing showed that when the lights out, the mission will never halt or fail. The sun will never truly set on the fightin’ 55th.