MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Tactical Air Control Party specialists from the 148th Air Support Operations Squadron conducted night training Jan. 11 at Fort Indiantown Gap.
The night training acted as proficiency training to increase the Airmen’s familiarization with operating their equipment at night.
“Close air support happens at any time during the day,” said Master Sgt. Brent Beckner, the operations training manager for the 148th ASOS. “You have to become very familiar with not only all your night vision equipment but your individual kit and knowing where everything is at, making sure it’s all tied off, so you’re not losing things. Familiarity at night is huge, and not only that, you have to have great light discipline.”
The proficiency training fell in line with their annual training plan, said Beckner.
“The desired learning objective was to get our guys familiar with their equipment at night,” said Beckner. “A lot of times, we’ll do it out in the woods with different types of navigation, but for this one, we decided to change it up, breaking it into three segments.”
The training was performed as a round-robin type event, where Airmen rotated between the three segments. One station consisted of close-quarters battle training, which included classroom instruction, glass-house drills and room clearing throughout their building.
A second station focused on small unit tactics where an Airman would transition through a shooting lane using their night vision devices and engaging targets with training ammunition. Their final time was modified to account for their accuracy in engaging the targets.
The last station was a react-to-contact, convoy-type scenario with tactics, techniques and procedures they utilized from the Special Operations Forces they were deployed with, said Beckner. It also incorporated a little bit of simulated tactical combat casualty care.
The training was an excellent way for the Airmen to focus on marksmanship fundamentals while operating in the dark. Beckner noted the basic concepts of marksmanship remain the same. However, there are some adjustments the operator must make to engage their targets at night or in low-light conditions accurately. Controlling your trigger pull and breathing should remain mostly unchanged, he said.
“When it comes to a stable firing platform and proper aiming, the optimal firing platform may not be the most comfortable, but it may prove to be the most accurate,” he said.