NEWS | May 7, 2021

Airmen and Soldiers learn to communicate in joint training

By Sgt. Tricia Andriski, Massachusetts National Guard

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. – Bringing Airmen and Soldiers together through joint training is essential to increasing the interoperability of the Air and Army National Guard.

Strong communication is vital to safely executing the mission, and saving lives depends on the ability of individuals to communicate in stressful situations. Airmen from the 104th Security Forces Squadron, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., and Soldiers from Detachment 1, Charlie Company, 3rd of the 126th Aviation, Westfield, Mass., have developed training that benefits both organizations. The training will allow them to practice lifesaving medical skills and improve communication while working side by side.

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Wilkinson, a flight paramedic and Detachment Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of Detachment 1, Charlie Company, explains that the different military branches operate in similar ways but do not always communicate in the same way.

“It’s training events like these that create that common language and that understanding,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson is looking forward to developing the skills of Airmen from the 104 SFS to be proficient at Tactical Combat Casualty Care and medical evacuation.

“Moving forward, it’s only going to get faster; it’s only going to get better,” Wilkinson said.

Capt. Samuel Bath, Squadron Commander of the 104th Security Forces Squadron, has been working to bring Soldiers and Airmen together, forming a joint relationship that trains and strengthens both units.

“These Non-Commissioned Officers stepped up on both sides to make this training impactful and long-lasting. This is an NCO-driven initiative that they took to heart and were just amazing at,” said Bath.

Bath emphasizes that joint training is an important way to develop three essential skills: to communicate, survive, and thrive.

“We want to build that foundation and work on those fundamentals,” said Bath. “It’s preparing our Airmen to go, do what they need to do in a conflict, and come home.”

Senior Airman Ivan Villavicencio of the 104 SFS has been at the forefront of this training. He initially brought the idea to Bath over a year ago, when Bath became commander of the unit.

Villavicencio had no medical experience before joining the unit. After becoming a member of the 104 SFS, he has worked full-time with the unit and participated in unit training.

With the new joint training available to them, he and the other Airmen in his unit can grow their proficiency.

“It’s not just eliminating the threat, but what happens if we get hit. Calling the 9-line and communicating with the helicopter, line by line like Sgt. 1st Class Wilkinson, was coaching me on communicating with the pilots. That’s all key information. I love the direction we’re heading in,” said Villavicencio.