102nd Security Forces provide combat readiness capability

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Patrick McKenna
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
The 102nd Security Forces Squadron conducted annual combat readiness task training here May 6-7, 2012, to ensure the squadron remains highly prepared in deployment operations and tactics.

The defenders spent May 6 in the classroom familiarizing themselves with a wide range of procedures. On May 7 they put those lessons into practice during a series of challenging exercises aimed at testing not only their tactical and technical proficiency, but also their ability to retain what they learned in class the day before.

"They were broken into three 15 person squads for the exercise and went through simulated dismounted combat patrols, convoy operations as well as a written test," said Master Sgt. Marc Vercellone, 102nd SFS NCO in charge of training. According to Vercellone, who planned the exercise, the 102nd SFS defenders were tested on their practical skills as well as their ability to work as a team.

During the dismounted patrol portion of their training, the 102nd SFS members were given coordinates to locations around the base and, with only a map, protractor and compass, were tasked with locating and navigating their way to five checkpoints while moving tactically in formation.

"This training better prepares members to execute their mission by reinforcing combat readiness tasks through planning and execution," said Staff Sgt. James Hightower, 102nd SFS trainer and exercise controller for the dismounted patrol phase of training.

The next phase of the training had each squad perform complete convoy procedures from conducting pre-mission vehicle inspections and mounting their turret weapons to driving in formation with correct spacing and awareness for roadside bombs being of great importance.

During each squad's respective convoy training, they were faced with a scenario in which they encountered unexploded ordnance and they had to demonstrate for the evaluators they could stop the convoy safely, perform correct perimeter sweeps and security, and then devise an alternate route back to their start point.

"The purpose of convoy training is to refresh our squadron's skill sets," said Staff Sgt. Colin MacEachern, 102nd SFS trainer and exercise controller for the convoy phase of training. "We have a large group of younger members who have only participated in convoy operations in technical school, so it's important for them to gain more experience."

Despite the long hours in the field in full body armor, each squad satisfactorily completed their objectives and squadron leadership was pleased with the results.

"This training was a great opportunity for the squadron to practice perishable skills," said Lt. Col. Christopher Hamilton, 102nd SFS commander. "It provided opportunities for our young, highly motivated Airmen to showcase the skills they learned in [technical] school as well as gave our more seasoned Airmen a chance to pass on things they've learned during previous deployments. This training brings our unit together and the product is a better, more seasoned troop."