Friday, March 08, 2013

AF civil engineer visits PRTC, commends progression

by Staff Sgt. Veronica McMahon
36th Wing Public Affairs

3/5/2013 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- The U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer, Maj. Gen. Timothy Byers, visited the Pacific Regional Training Center as part of a joint-service tour at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 26 and 27.

The PRTC was a concept Byers was engaged in developing during his time as the PACAF Civil Engineer from 2003-2005, and has been one of Team Andersen's major civil engineer developments during the past decade.

"I knew it would take some years to build, but the PRTC is integral to the shift in the Pacific," the general said. "As we bring in RED HORSE, combat communications, Commando Warrior and the next Silver Flag, this expeditionary combat skills capability will help us focus on the Pacific. It will also help us work on tactics, techniques and procedures with allied nations which will help us build partnerships."

The PRTC is an integrated contingency response environment designed to enhance basic skill sets, as well as teach advanced tactics Airmen would not have encountered in technical school or at home stations.

"Out here we teach students expeditionary skills as they go downrange," said Capt. Nathaniel Lesher, 736th Security Forces Squadron Commando Warrior Flight officer in charge. "We are trying to make this look like the best regional training center there is."

Byers was accompanied by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James Kessler, Commander of Marine Corps Installations Command, and other Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy leadership. They toured multiple aspects of the PRTC and were briefed on the progress of the site since its inception.

The leaders experienced an interactive demonstration of the various training capabilities conducted at the PRTC by walking through a counter-improvised explosive device lane, watching a TTP demonstration and viewing weapons currently used at the facility.

Members of 554th RED HORSE Squadron are constantly working on improving the PRTC facilities. The Airmen of the 554th were able to show Byers how they conduct tilt-up construction. Byers said he was impressed by the PRTC's development and progress. He admires the capability of the Airmen and their ability to work together as a team.

"There's been great work ethic from 554th RED HORSE and 254th Air National Guard units," Byers said. "They've also integrated the Naval construction force and Army engineers to help build up the site."

Team Andersen's accomplishments did not go unnoticed. Byers praised the work ethic of Andersen Airmen throughout his tour and recognized several service members for their hard work and dedication.

"Look at the facility," said Byers. "Six years ago it was a jungle out there, and now, a mini city is standing. Their efforts are outstanding and I think it's going great."

The PRTC is an ongoing project that is the center for training Airmen from the Republic of Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam and is responsible for training approximately 400 students, but will continue to grow as the training site expands.

"There has been a lot of progress so far but there is a ways to go before the site is complete," said 1st Lt. Ronda Underwood, 554th RHS section commander. "The idea is that it will be the focal point training site in the Pacific for Commando Warrior, which is already there operationally, and Silver Flag, which will be moving from Kadena Air Base in Japan."

According to Underwood the site will also be the future home for the 554th RHS, the 254th RED HORSE Air National Guard Unit and the 644th Combat Communications Squadron.

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