RST keeps Osan safe after an attack

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Imagine the base was under attack and a SCUD missile just detonated, and no one has any idea if it contained biological or chemical agents. It is the job of the base's readiness support teams to figure this out. 

"These guys do a lot of confirming or denying the presence of biological and chemical agents," said Master Sgt. David Mack, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness Flight superintendent. "Their primary duty is to go out and check M-8 paper detection points and see if there is any contamination." 

One of the requirements of these individuals is periodic training, which they finished Nov. 3. Their training is more or less a crash course of what CE Readiness personnel receive when they go through technical school, but it is condensed down to two days. 

The training teaches them everything, from the proper way to wear their chemical suits to checking a suspicious item for contamination. 

"These guys need to know how to protect themselves while they are out there," said Staff Sgt. Jeffery Womack, a readiness craftsman. "Along with using biological and chemical detectors and monitors, we teach them contamination avoidance to be safe."
"The training allows us to catch a lot of the new people on our teams who just got here and get them up to speed, as well as give us a chance to give our older team members a refresher," said Master Sgt. Mack. 

The training culminates in a training exercise that takes teams about 40 minutes to complete. This gives instructors a chance to evaluate how people work together and correct any bad habits or mistakes they see before the team is doing something "real-world". 

It also gives students a chance to work out any issues they may have. For instance, during the training, the class was split up into two teams. Both teams started out hurrying a little too much and not working as well together as they could have, but within a few minutes, both teams remedied that. 

"Both the teams finished the course with a very good time," Staff Sgt. Womack said. "If they function as well in a real situation as they did in training, they will do fine." 

During exercises and real-world incidents, RST members are organized into two-person ROUGE teams that are able to go out anywhere on base to perform their mission. Master Sgt. Mack said these teams are out moving around the base or the attack area before anyone else is, they make sure the area is safe for everyone else. 

The base also has a DELTA team, which is composed of primary duty Readiness personnel, said Master Sgt. Mack. "If all the rouge teams are busy on their routes and can't make it to a location we need them to be in, we can dispatch DELTA to a specific area to perform tests. They also serve as command and control if readiness personnel in the Wing Operations Center lose the ability to control the ROUGE teams."
He said everyone on the teams has to meet certain requirements. Four of the big ones are the individuals must have a Secret clearance and cannot be color blind so they are able to read maps and detector test results. They must also be in good physical condition because some of the readiness equipment is heavy and members could have to carry it for a long distance. Finally, they must not be on a control roster or have a Unfavorable Information File. 

"These guys are the heart and soul of the base recovery effort," said Staff Sgt. Womack. "Without them it would be very tough to get back up and running after an attack and know that it's safe to do so."