Middle River, MD — Engineers from the Maryland Air National Guard recently conducted professional field and readiness training at military sites in the region, June 22-24, as they prepare for deployment. 13 Airmen assigned to the 175th Civil Engineer Squadron, conducted the training at Ft. Indiantown Gap, Warfield Air National Guard Base and H. Steven Blum Military Reservation.
The 175th CES utilized the newly opened “white space” in its schedule as it prepared to deploy Airmen worldwide.
“We had pre-deployment training that was canceled unexpectedly, so we had a window of opportunity to train Airmen from multiple [career fields]said U.S. Air Force Maj. Brian Vickers, 175th Wing Base Assistant Civil Engineer. “The training included a day of heavy equipment operations, a day of convoy experience and individual movement techniques, and a day of land navigation.”
The first day of training was held at the 201st Regional Training Site, a site that Air Force civilian engineers can use for unique specialized warfare skills training and to learn upgrade skills with a state-of-the-art technology and equipment, located at Ft. Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County, PA.
“We’ve been able to train airmen from electrical and some of the other small shops that don’t necessarily need to have certain skills or have that equipment on their license,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alicia. Buhr, a structures mate assigned to the 175th CES. “We were able to gain that experience and give them guidance and training while learning skills to become proficient in their careers.”
The use of the 201st RTS is part of a 175th CES squadron-wide effort to modernize training and heavy equipment on base.
“We train our own employees in-house, but getting up there gives us the opportunity to have an external trainer with different perspectives,” Vickers explained. “They were extremely competent instructors and can step in immediately when our Airmen are deficient or lacking in a certain area and in real time can reinforce certain skills.”
The following day consisted of dismounted convoy and patrol operations in full chemical gear at the Warfield ANG base in Middle River, Maryland. The training, which was conducted by fellow Wing Airmen who recently participated in Hostile Field Craft training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakenhurst in New Jersey, helped prepare the deployers to be ready to perform missions with gas masks, chemical suits, boots and gloves during the summer heat.
“While training the convoy, we drove MOPP 4 and worked on radio communications, which is not easy with all that equipment,” Vickers explained. “Convoys are a family of skills and we have focused our operations on CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosives) to see how we perform our job in this environment. We are trying to demonstrate and practice that capability now before we find ourselves in a real CBRNE environment. »
The final day of training consisted of land navigation training conducted by Wing Airmen and was conducted at the Blum Army Reserve in Glen Arm, Maryland, where Maryland National Guard Soldiers provided on-site maps and training aids to help Airmen complete the course in the wooded terrain.
“Apart from meeting training requirements, I got to see our Airmen operating together,” Vickers said. “It also gives our Airmen the opportunity to build cohesion with one another because, in many ways, our drill status guards don’t know each other and don’t have the opportunity to work together on a regular basis. “
Over three days, members of the 175th CES were able to complete 80 vehicle qualifications and training requirements. 175th CES leadership said it was confident its Airmen were highly skilled in their jobs and ready for their mission overseas.
“Having a window of time to complete the qualifications and develop the skills is rare,” Vickers said. “And without an opportunity like this, I wouldn’t feel as confident deploying our Airmen as I do now.”