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Combat Readiness Creates Camaraderie

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jorrie Hart
  • 114th Fighter Wing

 

Approximately 35 Security Forces personnel from the 114th Security Forces Squadron

deployed in support of the 114th Fighter Wing’s Lobo Plummet, held in southern California.

The Defenders conducted flightline security for the F-16 Fighting Falcons at Marine Corps Air

Station (MCAS) Miramar while also taking advantage of several unique training opportunities at

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

 

The expeditionary skills training consisted of annual weapons qualifications, night fire utilizing

laser sights, weapon familiarization, land navigation and an emphasis on Military Operations in

Urban Terrain (MOUT) training.

 

All of the combined training strengthened the Defenders’ skills and teamwork as they prepared

for a final simulated mission in what security forces refers to as a MOUT village.

 

“MOUT training is urban building clearing while implementing Simunition rounds, a non-lethal

training ammunition, force on force scenarios, as well as shooting at targets inside the

buildings at close range,” said Master Sgt. Dustin Buhl, 114th Security Forces Squadron

training manager. “This is a possible tasking we could have if we deploy overseas, as well as

one of our many home station trainings. It’s part of our combat readiness.”

 

There are several components involved in preparing squads for a large-scale training scenario

conducted in an unfamiliar setting.

 

“Initially, we’ll go over some basic team movements in the classroom, basically how the book

says we should do it. Then we do a crawl, walk, run pace of the training. Yesterday, we did

some of the crawl-type training with small teams of four entering and learning buildings. By

afternoon, we took it up a notch so the teams were moving from building to building with

Simunitions. Today, we had squads of 13-plus people working an entire village in unison. It’s an

annual requirement so each year we restart with the basics, and build up to the big day like we

did today,” said Buhl.

 

The squads, consisting of approximately three fire teams, each with four people, were given a

modified operations order prior to embarking on their mission. During an ops order, the squads

are given information about the scenario they will be entering, as well as their objectives to

complete during the mission.

 

“The ops order provided there were 15-20 hostiles in the village, and they were to accomplish

their objective of reaching the target building and to eliminate the threats as they move

through,” said Buhl.

 

Targets were positioned inside buildings and throughout the village to simulate hostile forces.

As the teams encountered them, they were to engage and eliminate the enemy. Defenders

wore additional protective gear such as face masks, helmets, groin and neck protection while

in the village due to the Simunition rounds used.

 

“Those rounds hurt. They’ll definitely break the skin and leave marks,” added Buhl.

 

The training conducted while in southern California had a two-fold effect on the entire Security

Forces Squadron. The combat readiness training created a sense of camaraderie that is

difficult to establish during a regular guard drill.

 

“The best part for me personally is probably my connection with the rest of the squadron,” said

Senior Airman Kadin Wolff, 114th Security Forces Squadron fire team member. “Once I came

back from tech school, there was a large group that was deployed. When you’re deployed, you

become a lot closer with the people you’re with. The few of us that returned to the squadron

after tech school were on the outside because two days a month during guard drill isn’t enough

to try and get to know each other. I would say the team building and morale has been the

biggest and most beneficial part for me,” said Wolff.

 

Unique opportunities like the MOUT village kept the motivation high for the Airmen, but the

Defenders felt the camaraderie created within the squadron was immeasurable in comparison

to the training.