HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — About 150 reservists from the 419th Civil Engineer Squadron and 419th Force Support Squadron are building a base from the ground up and surviving in rugged terrain to test their wartime readiness

The bare base bed-down exercise runs April 4-7 at the Base Operations and Readiness Training Area, which simulates life in a deployed setting.

“Everyone is working together around tent structures where we’ll be living, working, and sleeping for the entire four days,” said Maj. Benjamin Hancey, 419th CES operations flight commander.

Airmen have already established a camp as if it were a newly established airfield. They are also responding to simulated threats, such as rocket attacks, which requires them to don extra gear and gas masks while performing their duties.

“We have lots of Airmen who have never done anything like this before, so it’s good experience for them,” said Master Sgt. Scott Gatewood, 419th CES first sergeant. “The BORTA simulates the harsher conditions they might face on a real-world deployment.”

The CES covers an array of specialties to include firefighting, explosive ordnance disposal, plumbing, and emergency management among others. The 419th Sustainment Services Flight in the FSS provides lodging, meals, and other services.

“These disciplines are all vital to establish and sustain an airfield, and there are many pieces that have to come together,” Hancey said. “Our electricians will build an infrastructure to provide power to the area, power production will get generators placed and grounded, and services will construct and operate the field kitchen.”

Hancey said everyone will have an opportunity to prove their skills throughout the exercise.

“This is all about giving Airmen an opportunity to learn for themselves,” Gatewood said. “It’s a great way to see what works and what doesn’t before they deploy.”

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