An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Feb. 12, 2020

Airmen train with pack animals in rural Idaho

By Airman 1st Class Taylor Walker 124th Fighter Wing

GOWEN FIELD, Idaho – Airmen from the 124th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS) in the 124th Fighter Wing trained with pack animals Feb. 9 in case they ever need to use them to haul cargo in rugged terrain.

Special warfare tactical air control party (TACP) Airmen drove from Gowen Field to Emmett, where hunting guides Harry and Matt Youren and J.D. Brock trained them to wrangle, saddle, pack, ride and care for horses.

“We’re learning how to properly pack people and equipment onto horses so that if we’re ever in a situation where we can’t use normal methods of transportation, we can use the animals to assist,” said Staff Sgt. Neil Mooney, a special warfare TACP Airman and the noncommissioned officer in charge of weapons and tactics from the 124th ASOS.

Special warfare units may use horses, mules and donkeys as substitutes for motorized vehicles in high mountain terrain, dense jungles, deserts, backcountry or other environments that require units to move on foot. The animals can carry food, water, first aid, radios and batteries to sustain units for extended periods.

“TACP units are joint providers of precision strike capabilities, and as the premier precision strike provider, we have to be able to get in and get out of anywhere in the world at any time,” said Mooney. “We never know where we’re going to be until we’re there, and we never know how we need to move until we’re in that situation.”

Mooney said the skills learned are important not only to the unit’s selection for a mission, but to their success in a joint environment. Those skills can also be put to use during in-state missions.

“There’s a federal mission we need to be prepared for, but there’s also a stateside potential that we could be called up with immediate response authority to go into the backcountry, and our members need to know how to get around with available livestock in that situation,” Mooney said.

Although this was the first local training of its kind for Airmen from the 124th ASOS, Tech. Sgt. Justin Clark, a TACP and delta flight training noncommissioned officer in charge, said the unit accomplished its goal of becoming more comfortable with the animals and learning the different systems to gather, pack and manage horses.

“The training was also important for our community outreach goals,” said Clark. “Not too many people know that Gowen Field exists, so we use opportunities like this to build real partnerships with organizations on and off base to help our career field evolve and further the collective mission.”



Related Articles
Master Sgt. Tom Krob, an aircraft hydraulic systems specialist, 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, stands in front of an F-16 Fighting Falcon at the Duluth Air National Guard Base. Krob is retiring in July 2024 with more than 42 years of service to his state and nation.
Minnesota Air Guardsman Closing Out 42-year Career
By Audra Flanagan, | July 18, 2024
DULUTH, Minn. - In May 1982, Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was No. 1 on the radio, and Master Sgt. Tom Krob enlisted at the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, as an aircraft fuel systems specialist. Early...

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Jonathan Morrison, assigned to the 24th Civil Support Team, New York National Guard, puts a simulated casualty on a litter with Brazilian Army soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, Defense Quimica Biological Radiological Nuclear, during Operation Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, July 12, 2024. Operation Maracana is a training exercise between the NYNG and Brazilian Armed Forces at the Maracanã stadium in preparation for the World Cup in 2026.
NY Guard Civil Support Teams Learn from Brazilian Counterparts
By Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Pietrantoni, | July 18, 2024
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Thirty-five New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen worked with Brazilian soldiers to secure a major soccer tournament from a chemical, biological or radiological attack.The members of the New...

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel F. Billingsley, communications chief, 33rd Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team, tests radio transmissions during a training exercise in Lihue, Hawaii, June 7, 2024. The exercise included military and civilian response partners to better integrate capabilities when disaster strikes.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Exercise Tests Interoperability
By Master Sgt. Arthur Wright, | July 18, 2024
LIHUE, Hawaii – Members of the 33rd Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team tested interoperability during a weapons of mass destruction exercise with the Kaua’i Emergency Management Agency, the Hawaii National Guard,...