Operation Green Flight Takes Off

  • Published
  • By Major Candice Allen
  • 446th Airlift Wing

When Tech. Sgt. Nick Caron, a loadmaster assigned to the 728th Airlift Squadron, entered a conference room in the 446th Airlift Wing headquarters building on Saturday, Oct. 15, he was declared “ready.”

With that declaration, he got to choose between flying on a C-17 Globemaster III, riding a razor, or participating in a security forces’ virtual reality weapons simulator.

Choosing between the three options for Caron was part of Operation Green Flight, an avenue for the 446th Airlift Wing to review the readiness of the wing and give Airmen an opportunity to observe another unit’s training.

Operation Green Flight was the 446th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Charles Metzgar’s idea.

“Operation Green Flight is a great way to assess our readiness and our ability to deploy,” Metzgar said.

In September, Metzgar ruminated over how to innovatively meet the Commander of the Air Force Reserve Command’s Task Order (TASKORD) while also empowering Airmen.

On the first page of the TASKORD it says, “All Airmen must actively engage in generating personal and unit readiness.”

For Capt. Hudyma, the 446th Airlift Wing Executive Officer and who made Metzgar’s idea a reality, read the first page and it stood out to her. To Hudyma, the program’s intent is to send a clear message: Own your readiness.

“[Operation Green Flight] is about empowering our Airmen to maintain their readiness,” Hudyma said. “Owning their own readiness.”

Green Flight began with a random selection of 100 Airmen from across the wing. Those Airmen reported to the simulated Deployment Personnel List with three reports they pulled in hand – their readiness status, individual medical record, and deployment checklist.

The DPL personnel reviewed the reports. If the DPL declared an airman “ready”, then the airman had to choose from three unique experiences.
Caron chose the 446th Security Force Squadron’s MILO Weapons Simulator and virtual reality training headset.

Caron said that as a loadmaster his job is to fly and he had ridden a razor before, so the virtual reality simulator appealed to him. Security Forces members took him through a series of training scenarios from responding to an active shooter, someone charging at you to encountering terrorists or someone wanting to harm themselves.

“I thought we were just going to shoot like a target,” said Caron after completing the weapons simulator. “But, to see the real-world scenarios that they’re (Security Forces) trying to train for and how intense they are was really interesting.”

“It was a good experience.”

For those who led the courses, like Staff Sgt. Cody Ryan, a security forces Airman assigned to the 446 SFS and ran the MILO Weapons Simulator, it was important to showcase different career fields to Airmen.

“In my opinion, it is extremely important that all career fields have a first-hand experience on what it is to make split second decisions,” Ryan said. “To show how quickly things can escalate and how fast of a response you need to have to save yourself and/or others.”

“This is an opportunity to better train and prepare our people mentally and prepare for a very small criteria and scenarios they could possibly encounter. But, of course, there is no training for everything we could see or deal with. I truly hope it opens the eyes of other career fields not only how fast things can change, but what happens after.”

Operation Green Flight will occur quarterly enabling the wing to randomly assess its readiness, continue to empower Airmen to own their own readiness and allow units to showcase their mission to their fellow Airmen.

The next opportunity is slated for January 2023.