PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. --
920th Rescue Wing Airmen had the opportunity to participate in combat-skills training here this week.
Participants were motivated to partake in the three-day exercise’s activities. They all experienced patrolling with small-team tactics, operating night vision goggles, using different types of tactical radios, building expedient bivouac sites, driving tactical vehicles, evading and defending against hostile forces in near-coastal tropical forest, and operating forklifts to move material.
“The goal for the exercise was to get people familiar with combat tasks that are done outside their primary mission skills,” said a 920th RQW communications officer and the lead operational planning team member. “I’d say that we succeeded with giving the participants a base familiarization with things that they may have to do in a deployed location-- really embracing that multi-capable Airman concept.”
The exercise participants had hands-on practice with a variety of skills that will increase fighting power in a deployed location while they fulfill the wing’s mission.
“Plan, lead and conduct military rescue operations and missions to deny competitors and adversaries exploitation of isolated personnel,” said the 920th Rescue Wing Commander, stating the wing mission statement and purpose of the exercise.
He went on to explain every Airman’s purpose in the wing.
“You individually have two parts of that mission,” said the Wing Commander. “The first part is your technical skill of admission, your Air Force Specialty Code, what you've been doing as a technical specialist. The second part is field craft, which is essential to have in the high-end fight and major combat operations. This weekend was just the tip of the iceberg on that training: being able to be multifunctional and multi-capable, helping out your brothers and sisters when they get behind, and being a kinetic combat asset.”
The separate training events of the exercise revolved around bolstering teamwork along with projecting the lethality of forward operations. From defending a position to setting up a field garrison, working together as a team was vital.
“We're training to build cohesion and understanding in environments that create hardship and adversity,” said the wing commander. “We're trying to inoculate you to the severity of what major combat operations will be like and get you conditioned so you know how to lead when it gets more adverse and complicated.”
The exercise focused on field operations expertise for the Airmen with such things as team weapons tactics, field tactics, and deception evasion in the underbrush. Many of the players had not practiced such things since basic training.
“Get out of the mindset that we can't because we've never done it,” the 920th RQW command chief explained. “Nobody's shooting at us while we're in comfortable in garrison, but because this fight is 20 years away, or 10 years away, or two weeks away, we’ve got to be ready to fight tonight. You have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable."