Security Forces Airmen prepare for combat scenarios at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Phil Speck
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123d Security Forces Squadron conducted five days of intense field training here recently to prepare them for future deployments in potentially hostile environments.

The training kicked off Sept. 15 with the Airmen being inserted into the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center via a Kentucky Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. From there, they set up a perimeter, completed a two-mile patrol and assaulted a village to rescue two simulated prisoners of war -- all in just the first two hours.

The Airmen also conducted exercises on land navigation and night patrols before concluding the week with a robust field-training scenario designed to simulate air base defense and mounted patrols in a combat environment, according to Lt. Col. George Imorde, commander of the 123d Security Forces Squadron.

Imorde said the training couldn't have come a better time, as many of the squadron's Airmen were preparing at the time to deploy to Africa in support of Operation United Assistance, the U.S. government's multi-agency effort to stop the largest Ebola outbreak in history.

"This field training exercise enhanced our rapid-deployment ability to support Operation United Assistance, and the realistic base defense/force protection training provided a refresher of the duties and expectations directly related to our combat mission," Imorde said.

A common misconception is that security forces only guard the gates at Air Force installations, secure the flight line and patrol the base, according to Tech. Sgt. Craig Davis, NCOIC of combat arms for the 123rd. But that is just a small portion of their responsibilities, he said.

"The bigger picture of what we do is the defense and protection of air bases in deployed environments," Davis said. "The methodology of completing those tasks is really our primary mission. When we deploy, these Airmen and NCOs are expected to know air base defense."

For some of the 123rd's newest NCOs, the Greenville exercise provided their first opportunity to demonstrate leadership under a deployed base-defense scenario, Davis said.

"Letting these young Airmen see what we do, and how we do it, is a very rewarding thing," Davis said. "You get to see young NCOs become seasoned NCOs and take charge by bringing teams together. Everyone is an individual, but when people come together and work toward a common goal as a team, it's pretty rewarding. When they are no longer looking to you for instruction, and they are looking to each other for approval, then you know the training has been successful."

Members of the Wing's 123rd Force Support Squadron also participated in the exercise, serving hot meals prepared in the unit's Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer.