Minot AFB prepares for biological and chemical attacks

Minot Air Force Base has completed a 48 hour training exercise, dubbed Prairie Night 10-1, to ensure that members of its 5th Bomb Wing are prepared in the event of a biological or chemical attack if deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

"This is where we learn the fundamentals so that when we go out into combat into the real world we're able to respond appropriately," Col. James Gallagher told North Dakota's KFYR-TV.

The simulated attack began at 11:39 in the morning with the sound of mortars hitting. Airmen at the base climbed into their chemical gear as if the attack were real in an effort to build muscle memory for an attack in the field, making preparation for the attack second nature to them.

"I'm supposed to put on my gas mask, my chemical gear, my gloves, I'm supposed to do this and that," Col. Gallagher.

After gearing up, the troops had to determine out if the attack was chemical or biological in nature by checking indicators placed around their tents. While determining the source of the attack, the area was secured and the simulated base was linked through the use of walkie-talkies.

"If there's no communication between two parts of a mission," Airman Cordan Norris told KFYR-TV. "It really holds things up."

Once the base was secure and lines of communication were established, the base's medical facility was activated.