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NEWS | March 21, 2024

Alaska Guard Maintenance Airmen Train on Security Tactics

By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, 168th Wing Public Affairs

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska - Airmen with the 168th Wing refined tactics for possible future conflicts during a shoot, move and communicate course at Eielson Air Force Base March 11-15. 

The 168th Maintenance Group Airmen were trained as multi-capable Airmen with the 168th Security Forces Squadron and learned SFS tactics and techniques.

“What we have done as part of the Agile Combat Employment concept is take the MXS Group out to the range and put together a summarized shoot, move and communication course similar to what cops would be doing,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Villa, 168th Combat Arms instructor. 

The training enabled 168 MXG Airmen to apply small unit tactics in realistic scenarios. The teams practiced moving toward a simulated enemy while using cover, communicating with each other, and putting accurate fire down range.

“The training gave me a rough idea of what it would be like as a team moving forward in a combat situation and how to provide cover for fellow teammates advancing in an area we are trying to defend,” said Senior Airman Caleb Foster, an aircraft structural maintenance technician in the 168th Maintenance Group.

“We are at the range with our Maintenance Airmen to prepare them for combat and secure our assets at a forward-deployed location if needed,” said Chief Master Sgt. Ray Allen, 168th Maintenance Group chief. “The opportunity to do battle drills while moving and firing weapons with Security Forces will help prepare them when they get forward-deployed, possibly in the Pacific doing hub-and-spoke maintenance operations anywhere in the world they are needed.”

“It was an incredible course to share that type of knowledge with them,” said Tech Sgt. Trevor Auton, a 168th Wing Combat Arms instructor. “When we run a course like this, you have to make more decisions — you are responsible for knowing when to reload, when to move with your team, and when to communicate.”

The training postured the MXS Airmen for potential operations in austere deployed environments.

“The course allows us to share the knowledge we have with others, so if they ever have to pick up a weapon and defend themselves, they are more likely to be able to move dynamically in combat,” said Senior Airman Daniel Bauer, 168th Wing Combat Arms Instructor. “It is different from the normal firing line qualifications where you stand statically. It allows you to learn about communicating with your teammates — moving from cover to cover, providing cover fire for them.”

The 168th SFS taught multiple groups of maintenance Airmen the basics of fireteam maneuvering.

“It is generally SFS’s responsibility to protect assets, but with the MCA concept, sometimes folks from other career fields will have to augment SFS,” said Bauer. “If you’re under attack, they may have to pick up weapons and defend themselves even if that’s not their primary duty. It’s important for them to have the knowledge so they can come home at the end of the day.”

As warfighting is ever-changing, the 168th Wing continues implementing agile combat employment concepts through adversarial-minded, combat-driven exercises.

Staff Sgt. Hannah Moore, electrical and environmental specialist in the 168th Maintenance Group, said the training was helpful. 

“In Maintenance, our primary focus is fixing planes. I appreciate the opportunity to learn to be better prepared if threats like that ever arise,” Moore said. “It’s like, we hope you never need it, but it’s here if you do training. We don’t want to be preparing for this, but it’s the world we live in right now.”

These multi-capable training exercises enhance readiness and lethality, crucial for defending and deterring potential threats.



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