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PAR Teams: Critical for ORI success

U.S. Air Force personnel with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., making up a three-person post attack reconnaissance (PAR) team, inspects the area surrounding a facility on base, March 15, 2013, after a simulated attack. A PAR team is designated for specific buildings and areas of the base to assess damage and survey the area for casualties, unexploded ordinances and chemical contamination after an attack. Personnel at McEntire are preparing for an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection, which evaluates a unit's ability to operate and launch missions in a chemical combat environment.
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force personnel with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., making up a three-person post attack reconnaissance (PAR) team, inspects the area surrounding a facility on base, March 15, 2013, after a simulated attack. A PAR team is designated for specific buildings and areas of the base to assess damage and survey the area for casualties, unexploded ordinances and chemical contamination after an attack. Personnel at McEntire are preparing for an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection, which evaluates a unit's ability to operate and launch missions in a chemical combat environment. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force personnel with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., making up a three-person post attack reconnaissance (PAR) team, inspects the area surrounding a facility on base, March 15, 2013, after a simulated attack. A PAR team is designated for specific buildings and areas of the base to assess damage and survey the area for casualties, unexploded ordinances and chemical contamination after an attack. Personnel at McEntire are preparing for an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection, which evaluates a unit's ability to operate and launch missions in a chemical combat environment.
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force personnel with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., making up a three-person post attack reconnaissance (PAR) team, inspects the area surrounding a facility on base, March 15, 2013, after a simulated attack. A PAR team is designated for specific buildings and areas of the base to assess damage and survey the area for casualties, unexploded ordinances and chemical contamination after an attack. Personnel at McEntire are preparing for an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection, which evaluates a unit's ability to operate and launch missions in a chemical combat environment. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stephen Aun, with the 169th Communications Flight at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., inspects a chemical contamination stanchion during a post attack reconnaissance (PAR) check, March 15, 2013, after a simulated attack. PAR teams are designated for specific buildings and areas of the base to assess damage and survey the area for casualties, unexploded ordinances and chemical contamination after an attack. Personnel at McEntire are preparing for an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection, which evaluates a unit's ability to operate and launch missions in a chemical combat environment.
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stephen Aun, with the 169th Communications Flight at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., inspects a chemical contamination stanchion during a post attack reconnaissance (PAR) check, March 15, 2013, after a simulated attack. PAR teams are designated for specific buildings and areas of the base to assess damage and survey the area for casualties, unexploded ordinances and chemical contamination after an attack. Personnel at McEntire are preparing for an upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection, which evaluates a unit's ability to operate and launch missions in a chemical combat environment. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- After the enemy attacks, a specialized team is called upon to survey the damage. They are positioned to be the first responders on scene to ensure all is safe before anyone else is put in potential danger.

The Post Attack Reconnaissance team (PAR) is one of the first to leave their safety zone in order to inspect the aftermath of an attack. They survey each sector or area of responsibility for casualties, Unexploded Ordinances (UXOs), and contamination of liquid detection points to ensure that it's safe for personnel to return to normal activities.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Aun, IT Specialist for the 169th Communications Squadron, said, "The PAR team is critical because, after an attack, we don't know what's outside of our facility. All we know is that we have to ascertain the level of damage outside. That's critical because it all affects our ability to continue the mission.

"I try to imagine myself in a real-world environment, such as Afghanistan or an unfriendly country," said Aun. "The first thing you want to do is to take cover, and then mentally prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter."

As the PAR team leaves their facility, they perform their sweep in a three man team. The number of teams depends on the number of personnel in the facility, as well as the size of the building. During their sweep, they look for injured personnel, anything suspicious and building damage. Their report is forwarded to their unit control centers for further action.

Master Sgt. James Powell, SCANG Command Post, Operations NCO in charge, said excellent PAR teams all have one thing in common, they move with purpose. It's not a job for the timid. Its' is a job for the Airman who leans forward.

A good PAR team member must understand the importance of moving with purpose, because it reflects the main ingredients of time, accuracy, and safety. To win the war or the inspection, all must realize that time is of the essence.

"We must get our team out as timely as possible, report as accurate as possible, and be safe as possible in accomplishing our sweeps," Aun said. "We must then quickly channel this information upward so that we can get back at the people who just tried to take our lives, by getting those F-16s back in the air quickly to hopefully, neutralize the bad guys."

In order to perform their mission, PAR teams carry a variety of specialized kits, which help the team in identifying UXOs and chemical agents. Aun said that there is no standard rule for the number of personnel on a PAR team, but he feels three members are sufficient.

"We outfit one to carry the medical backpack, which has all of the supplies we need, in case we encounter a casualty," Aun said. "The other has the PAR backpack, which includes all of the markers used to identify all UXOs, and the third person is the PAR team leader and the communicator."

However, each job of a PAR team member is important, and anybody can be a PAR team member at any time. Even those who are not on the initial PAR team can be called upon to be a member in case anyone is "killed-off." For that reason, everyone needs to be familiar with self-aid buddy care. Aun said, "This is extremely important on base now, because current construction presents real-world hazards. You must be familiar with the surroundings of your facility, because you could fall into a real hole and cause real bodily injuries."

Powell said, "PAR teams are the eyes and ears of the base after attack. Our decision makers are in the ICC (Installation Control Center), and they cannot make decisions without fast and accurate ground intelligence from the PAR teams.

"PAR teams are the single most important resource we have after attacks," said Powell. "We cannot get out of Alarm blue and back to work until they have cordoned off UXOs, marked contaminated areas/assets, and provided timely Self-Aid Buddy Care."