Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Air Warriors Train for Deployment

Eielson Airmen received some valuable training as they prepared for worldwide deployments. A class of about 50 participated in a recent three-day combat skills training course and were educated on topics ranging from convoy planning and unexploded ordnance recognition to self-aid and buddy care. CST provides deploying Airmen with the knowledge and situational awareness they need to survive and thrive, regardless of location or duration of tour. "Expeditionary combat skills training is designed to help Airmen who do not train for combat, (unlike) security forces and combat controllers, survive in hostile environments," said Master Sgt. Shawn Cox, 354th Security Forces Squadron. "The most important thing I learned during the course was convoy procedures," said Airman 1st Class Daniel Coomer, 354th Fighter Wing chaplain assistant. "You never know if you are going to need to take a convoy somewhere and these skills are crucial for survival." Airman Coomer wasn't alone in stressing the importance of the convoy operations portion of CST."My favorite part would have to be the convoy training," said Airman 1st Class Lance Egan, 354th Communications Squadron radio maintenance technician. "We were able to learn a lot and have a bigger hit of reality when it comes to what we'll be doing while deployed." To help students understand the importance of communication during a convoy attack, the instructors gave each Airman two 10-round clips of blanks for their M-16s, and after two dry runs of proper exiting procedures and placement outside stationary Humvees, put them through a real-world convoy attack scenario. "It teaches the Airmen tactics on how to survive ambushes and mortar attacks," said Sergeant Cox. "It also teaches them the capabilities and characteristics of their assigned weapon, the M16A2." Simulating a broken-down vehicle due to enemy fire, each group of Airmen was called on to demonstrate correct vehicle exit procedures and tactical placement using the vehicle as cover, all in the blink of an eye and with the CST cadre serving as opposing forces, or OPFOR. Students also learned proper procedures and techniques for challenging and searching suspicious individuals. "Search and seizure techniques were a good thing to learn more about so that we know the proper way to approach and, if necessary, take down suspects," Airman Egan said.

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