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Home : News
NEWS | Nov. 3, 2022

Joint Exercises Increase Security Force Readiness, Lethality

By Staff Sgt. Tony Harp, 193rd Special Operations Wing

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – The 193rd Special Operations Security Forces Squadron participated in a few firsts this year, increasing the readiness and lethality of the Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element program.

DAGRE team members honed their tactical skills by participating for the first time in the multinational, Indo-Pacific exercises Cobra Gold in Thailand and Balikatan in the Philippines, and the Air Combat Command-led Red Flag exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

“Air Force Special Operations Command DAGREs are a premier force protection element for Air Force Special Operations Forces elements, which require a lengthy amount of skill sets,” said Technical Sgt. Matthew Reed, a 193rd SOSFS DAGRE team lead.

Reed said those skills include advanced gun fighter techniques, land navigation, mission planning, security survives and defensive driving. 

“These exercises amplify our mission sets, improve our skills and align with AFSOC strategic guidance by working with our joint partners,” said Reed. 

He said the two DAGRE teams sent to Thailand and the Philippines provided anti-terrorism force protection analysis to the mission commander and conducted tactical security details, site security and airfield/hotel security assessments.

During the Red Flag exercise, “the combined SOF elements hardened the agile combat employment concept through fly-away security, austere airfield security, combat search and rescue force protection, all while working with units from the Marine Corps, air traffic control teams, security forces K9, tactical air control party and various ACC air platforms,” Reed said.

The DAGRE program is evolving as it aligns with AFSOC strategic guidance and the National Defense Strategy. Training begins with the DAGRE qualification course and is supplemented through various avenues to increase team members’ effectiveness and capabilities.

“The DAGRE qualification course creates a highly trained Security Forces Air Commando who is prepared to perform a wide range of unique missions,” said Master Sgt. Michael Dawson, 193rd SOSFS DAGRE program manager. 

Building on the training from the exercises, three security forces members also completed the Army Air Assault course at Fort Indiantown Gap in August.

“DAGRE teams are notably small, as normally we deploy in five-person teams,” said Reed. “With that said, having such a small team, it is imperative to have additional skill sets. Air Assault not only makes a DAGRE air assault insertion qualified, but the member also now has the knowledge on sling loads with rotary aircraft, which can be utilized in the austere environments we deploy to.”

Lt. Col Kathleen Fabrizi, 193rd SOSFS commander, said, the air assault course “is a key foundational element in the 193rd SOSFS role in building AFSOC for the future.” 

Tech. Sgt. Jacob Nieto, 193rd SOSFS chief weapons instructor, was the first member of the unit to attend the Security Forces Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course at Fort Bliss, Texas. Nieto also claimed the top leadership award while attending the course. 

“Security Forces Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course is a program meant to develop elite Security Forces members as tactical advisers to leadership at all levels,” said Nieto. “‘Patches,’ as we are referred to, identify combat capability gaps throughout the Security Forces Enterprise and provide innovative solutions to the ever-evolving threat climate.” 

“While the DAGRE teams participated in many exercises away from home, we also hosted a tactical security detail exercise at home,” said Reed. “With the participation of 20 other 193rd SOW members from across the wing, the DAGRE team was able to gain valuable training at home.”