SALINA, Kan. – The Kansas Air National Guard’s 184th Security Forces Squadron trained with active-duty Airmen from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team and Kansas Army National Guard Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation medevac unit.
The training, conducted June 1-2 at the Kansas Training Center and Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range at Salina, resulted from a reorganization directive to Air Force security forces by General C.Q. Brown, Air Force chief of staff.
Thirty-two initiatives were developed to refocus from law enforcement and security duties to core competencies of air base ground defense.
“These competencies are a return to tactics learned and honed during the conflicts in jungles of Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s,” said Col. Joe A. Dessenberger, commander of the 184th Mission Support Group, Kansas Air National Guard. “Some of our seasoned leaders who trained in similar tactics before the War on Terror are familiar enough to forge ahead with more intense training.”
Dessenberger said the field training tied together those concepts and off-station training to teach Airmen to work as a team in a stressful environment.
Before the field exercise, participants engaged in a skills training day to practice land navigation, 9-line casualty reporting, medevac aeromedical transport, recognition of unexploded ordnance, and other tasks.
“What we’ve been doing leading up to this event is training at home station, preparing the Airmen for air base defense skills that they may need in a contingency location if that were to occur,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dale Brooks, 184th SFS.
“This is basically a process to allow us to test and evaluate our training back home,” Brooks said. “We take that after-action report and determine what we did well, what we can improve on, resources we may need to help us get there, what future additional training we might want to acquire to prepare us for that future near-peer threat using that defender next model.”
Security Forces Airmen train for a variety of scenarios that may occur at a moment’s notice, day or night.
“Today, we woke up at three in the morning,” said Tech. Sgt. John Morphis, 184th SFS. “We had to get ready within a certain amount of time, get mounted up, get our warning order, and then we started the day at 4 o’clock and stepped to our mission.”
The mission was to clear a mock village of enemy threats and set up a forward operating base, he said.
The 184th Airmen relied on the active-duty Air Force to clear the way as they moved into the village.
“We were embedded with the 184th Security Forces for most of the duration of the field training exercise,” said Senior Airman Skylar Ackley, 22nd ARW Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team. “Mostly, we moved and communicated with 184th Security Forces Squadron during convoy operations and dismounted patrol operations. Sometimes we would act independently when an explosive scenario kicked off.”
“Our mission was to assist the security elements in support of explosive hazards,” said Senior Airman Andrew Lillard, 22nd ARW, “whether that be standard military ordnance or improvised devices.”
“During the exercise, our EOD team both located and rendered safe all devices,” said Staff Sgt. Kaanen Brabbs, 22nd ARW.
The Security Forces also relied on the Kansas Army Guard to supply other skills and assets they lacked.
“One of the things they reached out to the Army side was to conduct aeromedical evacuation training in the event they run into a situation which requires one of their Airmen to be transported for a medical emergency,” said Maj. Clarence “CJ” Schreiber, commander, Company G, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation (MEDEVAC).
Dessenberger said the range partners at the Kansas Training Center and Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range were critical to the event’s success.
“Their cooperation allowed us to use a large footprint on either side of the range complex and bed down at the training site,” he said. “All three joint partners were able to accomplish significant blocks of training that are required each year.”
Schreiber hopes such joint training opportunities will become a regular event in the Kansas National Guard.
“This is something we want to capitalize on and build more toward,” said Schreiber.
“We would absolutely love to see more of these types of exercises,” Ackley said. “There are a lot of moving parts, but it really puts things into perspective and shows what could realistically happen when different agencies are thrown together.”