Military News

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Creek Defender readies USAFE Airmen

by Tech. Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/23/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- One hundred and four Security Forces members throughout U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa committed blood, sweat and tears but, in turn, gained new insight and honed combat skills during a Creek Defender's Base Security Operations course June 6 through 21.

Creek Defender is USAFE-AFAFRICA's only Ground Combat Readiness Training Center for deploying SF members. The center is staffed with 19 instructors who train and qualify more than 1,500 defenders each year.

"All defenders were required to perform and successfully complete 24 core security forces tasks during this 15-day course," said Staff Sgt. Bryan Meraz, 435th Security Forces Squadron senior instructor. "Some of the tasks included: urban operations, range estimation, live-fire, stress-fire and mounted and dismounted operations."

The first portion of the course was classroom familiarization to refresh and prepare the defenders for practical exercises in the field.

"A lot of what was covered I learned in technical school, but this was a great opportunity and a much needed refresher for me," said Senior Airman Kevin Garcia, 86th SFS patrolman.

In the field, defenders were then evaluated on correct application and execution of each core task. The field exercises gave students realistic scenarios that emulated challenges they may face in their future deployed location operations.

"These past few weeks have allotted leaders time to coach, groom and mentor our young defenders in preparation for combat," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ricks, 86th SFS flight chief. "The field exercises and the FTX provided us the opportunity to evaluate just how effective our leadership strategy and mentoring is."

The course ended with a final, 14-hour field training exercise. The FTX brought all aspects of the training full circle.

"These guys out here get it...everything is going smoothly, it makes my job too easy," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Kennedy, 435th SFS senior instructor. "How well these guys perform relies heavily on how well the squad comes together as a team, as well as the mentorship and leadership from each squad's squad leader."

The students battled fatigue and extreme weather but overcame those challenges through teamwork and communication. The FTX was a success; all objectives were met.

"The biggest take away from this course, the field exercises and the FTX was teamwork," said Garcia.

The defenders were all smiles during graduation as Maj. Andrew Moore, USAFE GCRTC commander, congratulated and named the top performers during the course. Each award is named after a fallen defender.

The awards and awardees were:

- Airman 1st Class Lee Bernard Chavis Top Gun Award, Senior Airman Brandon Lepp, 86th SFS patrolman
- Airman 1st Class Jason Nathan Outstanding Airman Award, Senior Airman Matthew Erfman, 86th SFS
- Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy Outstanding NCO Award, Tech. Sgt. Michael Broderick, 86th SFS assistant flight chief
- Lt Joseph Helton Leadership Award, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ricks, 86th SFS flight chief
- Top Cadre, Staff Sgt. Spencer Wallace, 435th SFS instructor

USAFE's Creek Defender is in constant operations, keeping defenders always ready.

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