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Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing prepare for the worst in a scheduled Operational Readiness Exercise at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on March 31, 2012.  The exercise involved different stages of simulated attacks at an overseas location where members would have to implement the use of chemical and biological protection equipment. This was all done while still keeping open communication with leadership on operations during the exercise.  (New York Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing prepare for the worst in a scheduled Operational Readiness Exercise at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on March 31, 2012. The exercise involved different stages of simulated attacks at an overseas location where members would have to implement the use of chemical and biological protection equipment. This was all done while still keeping open communication with leadership on operations during the exercise. (New York Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing prepare for the worst in a scheduled Operational Readiness Exercise at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on March 30, 2012.  The exercise involved different stages of simulated attacks where members would have to implement the use of Chemical and Biological protection equipment including a gas mask as well as a protective suit. Following simulated attacks members would visually inspect their areas for threats and mark any found so that they could be addressed by emergency response personnel.  (NY Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Not Released)

Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing prepare for the worst in a scheduled Operational Readiness Exercise at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on March 30, 2012. The exercise involved different stages of simulated attacks where members would have to implement the use of Chemical and Biological protection equipment including a gas mask as well as a protective suit. Following simulated attacks members would visually inspect their areas for threats and mark any found so that they could be addressed by emergency response personnel. (NY Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Not Released)

Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing simulate how to respond to an attack at an overseas location during an Operational Readiness Exercise conducted at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on March 31, 2012.  The exercise involved different stages of simulated attacks where members would have to don gas masks and other protective gear. Following simulated attacks members visually inspected their areas of responsibility for threats and alerted emergency response personnel.  (New York Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing simulate how to respond to an attack at an overseas location during an Operational Readiness Exercise conducted at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on March 31, 2012. The exercise involved different stages of simulated attacks where members would have to don gas masks and other protective gear. Following simulated attacks members visually inspected their areas of responsibility for threats and alerted emergency response personnel. (New York Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

HANCOCK FIELD ANGB, Syracuse, NY -- Hancock Field Air National Guard Base donned chemical gear and conducted an Operational Readiness Exercise (ORE) for the first time in three years on March 31, 2012. 

An Operational Readiness Inspection is conducted to assess a unit's ability to deploy at a given time, and an ORE is the first step towards that evaluation. Although every Airman on Hancock Field has remained deployable, the unit as a whole has not performed this level of exercise since converting from the F-16 Fighter Falcon aircraft to MQ-9 Reaper in 2009. It is customary for a unit to be given time after a conversion to become proficient before being evaluated.

The focus of this particular exercise was to evaluate command and control activities, demonstrate mission oriented protective postures and test personnel accountability procedures. "Although we hadn't done this is awhile, we did fairly well. I'm satisfied that Hancock Field meets the compliance requirement," said Lt. Col. Kate Hutson, 174th Fighter Wing Deputy Mission Support Commander and officer in charge of the ORE.  "We constantly have people deployed overseas and this is actually part of the training they need before they leave," said Hutson.

The 174th officially stood up the MQ-9 mission in December of 2009, but sustained a dual-mission status for approximately six months as it flew both F-16 and MQ-9 missions until the last of the F-16s were flown off Hancock Field in March of 2010.