he Base Ground Operation Section was formed in November 1979 as part of the Base Training Officer organization when CFB Baden ceased to be a Detachment of Lahr and again received base status. Prior to November 1979, the organization's duties had been carried out by an Operations Officer under Wing Operations and (in the 1960s to early 1970s) by the Base Training Officer who was also double-hatted as the Base Education Officer.
The re-alignment of Base Ground Operations as part of the BTSO branch was necessary in response to the changing NATO requirement that all air bases develop the ability to Survive To Operate (STO), following an air or ground attack, in the event of war. This meant that if war broke out, each base had to be able to rejuvenate essential facilities and be capable of continuing air operations by being able to effect repairs to runways and other critically needed facilities. Since many of the new concepts had an engineering requirement like camouflage and concealment, airfield damage repair, EOD and emergency services repair to name a few, they were combined together to become what has been known as support ops, under the BTSO, during Starfighter exercises.
The Grd Ops responsibility to support Base Operations included the Nuclear Biological and Chemical Warfare section, Base Security (including Ground Defense Force) and the alert recall system. In preparation for the exercises, the B Grd Ops O was responsible to develop the base training plan which included NBCW training, first aid, specialty training to shelter commanders and shelter staffs, ensured weapons qualification were up-to-date and dc-signed the GDF training plan. Also included was the requirement to assign personnel (supply techs, admin clerks, fin clerks, etc.) to war task assignments. And, one of the more important tasks once training was completed, was to develop exercise scenarios to ensure support ops and personnel on the ground were given the opportunity to exercise and develop their skills. Following the complication of each exercise, the B Grd Ops O was responsible to complete the STO report outlining both strengths and weaknesses for the next Starfighter exercise.
To stay current with the ever changing
requirements of NATO, the B Grd Ops O was required to be a qualified NATO Chief STO Officer, serving as a team chief along with other skilled personnel from the base who were also employed as evaluators supporting NATO Tac Evals of other NATO bases.
Over the years, CFB Baden has been involved in numerous NATO tactical evaluations. This unit has consistently demonstrated, earning it a reputation for excellence. The support ops (STO) organization has always maintained a high standard, being capable of defending the airfield and displaying the ability to rejuvenate critical operational assets. Support ops has indeed played its part in establishing the reputation that CFB Baden has among its allies as being one of the finest air bases in NATO.
Although NATO has never gone to war, the training over the years proved invaluable during the Gulf War. Within a very short period of time and with only refresher training, 409 Sqn personnel were ready to go with the confidence that their equipment and training, especially in NBCW, would protect them against the unknown. The very same training provided by B Grd Ops over the years.