Utah ANG Security Forces improve combat readiness
By Staff Sgt. Annie Edwards, 151 ARW/PA
/ Published March 25, 2015
SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 30 Airmen from the 151st Security Forces Squadron participated in a two-week annual training held at various locations in Utah, March 2-12, designed to improve combat readiness and refine skills used in their day-to-day jobs at home as well as in deployed locations.
The training, which took place at the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Camp Williams and Hill Air Force Base, consisted of a combination of classes, demonstrations and hands-on learning, as well as weapons qualification and combatives training.
Airman 1st Class Randall Fenn, a member of the 151st SFS, said one of the best aspects of this training for him was the opportunity to put into practice skills he had previously studied in a classroom setting.
"It's one thing to learn about fire team movements and gathering intel and SALUTE reports in a classroom or PowerPoint," said Fenn. "But when you actually get in the field and execute these operations, for me, it's a lot easier to retain and to get a better understanding of how these operations work together."
Tech. Sgt. Jason Dandurand, unit training manager for the 151st SFS, spent nearly three months working to plan this year's training and coordinate the events.
Dandurand said that while the main focus was combat readiness, many aspects of these yearly training requirements allow the Airmen to refresh and improve skills essential to base security operations that they use at home as well.
"We need to take this time annually to see where we are at so we can adjust our training and see what things we need to improve. It also allows us to be cohesive in our abilities to function together, to do our jobs, and see how we are in different situations," said Dandurand.
Unit members also got to test their skills at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) Range at Camp Williams, where they conducted an assault on a village and secured a forward operating base. Simulation rounds and blanks were used to make the training more realistic.
In addition to improving individual skills, events like this allow the unit to learn to work more effectively together.
"Working as a team builds a sort of camaraderie that instills trust in each other; and as Defenders this is an essential character trait needed to push forward and accomplish the mission effectively." said Master Sgt. Shatiece Werner, unit deployment manager with the 151st SFS.
Senior Master Sgt. Joe Davis, operations superintendent with the 151st SFS, said another important aspect of the training was the opportunity for the Airmen to learn from each other, especially skills they may need if they are deployed.
"The things that we're training on are generated and specific to what we know that we will be doing if we are sent downrange," said Davis. "For our younger Airmen that have never deployed before this is the stuff that my NCOs and Senior NCOs can pass on, their greater knowledge, their greater experiences so that we have a better Airman to put on the line."
The squadron was also able to conduct weapons qualifications on heavy weapons systems at Camp Williams and small arms qualifications at Hill Air Force Base.
After watching demonstrations of combative techniques, the Airmen took turns practicing different methods and holds for subduing an attacker. They also received baton training, which they used to respond to various scenarios involving aggressive individuals.
Werner said one of the most beneficial aspects of the training was the opportunity to see new or different ways of doing things.
"We are always improving and progressing in our tactics and procedures, and this training just reinforces what we are learning while preparing us with the skills needed to react to certain situations," said Werner.