Kentucky Air Guard fosters multi-capable Airmen with training for engineers

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Horton
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron completed mission-ready training here June 2 designed to promote the development of multi-capable Airmen.

According to Maj. Jason Selby, commander of the squadron’s operations flight, the training focused on competencies outside engineer-specific skills, including tactical convoy operations, individual movement techniques, integrated defense and defensive fighting positions.

“We’re trying to get out of the mindset that we’re just going to deploy somewhere with the fences already set up, performing only engineering tasks,” Selby said. “It’s important that we understand the full picture of the battlefield and that we can perform basic tactical tasks wherever we go. We have to be prepared to go anywhere on the globe, and this training is allowing us to do that.”

Lt. Col. Jarrett Goddard, commander of the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron, said being combat-ready is a necessity.

“We’re getting a solid understanding of what’s required of us in a combat scenario,” Goddard said. “As civil engineers, we like to hit nails with hammers and work with tools, but part of our mission set is to be proficient in combat skills and to be ready to take the fight to the enemy. It’s not something that civil engineering is known for, but it’s an absolute requirement for us.”

For tactical convoy training, the Airmen operated Humvees and responded to simulated kinetic scenarios, covering communication skills, insertion, extraction and self-aid/buddy care.

“Tactical convoy covers how to move, how to communicate, how to direct an element from point A to point B,” Selby said. “We tied self-aid/buddy care and medical evacuation into that and how to insert into a place as well as extraction out of a place.” 

For integrated defense, the Airmen practiced the construction of defensive fighting positions and individual movement techniques.

“Before we ever establish a foothold and set up a base camp, we’d of course make sure we have integrated defense, and that starts with our defensive fighting positions,” Selby said. “If we need to move in and secure something by force, that’s where individual movement techniques come in — ‘the high-crawl, low-crawl, buddy-bounding, shoot, move and communicate’ class.”

Staff Sgt. Samantha Brown, unit training manager, says the hands-on nature of the exercise made it highly valuable.

“I definitely think it’s important to experience this in person,” Brown said. “In a real-world situation, you can say, ‘Wait, I actually remember doing this; let me apply the skills I’ve practiced on.’ You could also see that teamwork was very important and imperative to accomplishing every task here.”

“Depending on where the location is, you never know what you’re going to face,” said Airman First Class Elmer Lopez-Duran, a structures specialist and newcomer to the unit. “I know I have to be skilled in my primary job, but it’s good to be well-rounded because you never know when you’re going to need it.”