by Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin
161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
8/19/2015 - BELLEMONT, Ariz. -- Airmen
from the 161st Air Refueling Wing based in Phoenix traveled to Camp
Navajo, the Army's high elevation training center here, to complete
vital training requirements Aug. 4 through 7.
During the training, Airmen learned contingency skills such as self-aid
buddy care and the ability to survive and operate during chemical,
biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive attacks. The Airmen
also participated in diversity training and learned land navigation
Completing ancillary training at Camp Navajo versus home station allows
Airmen to focus solely on training, while also providing a location to
complete both classroom and field instruction said Col. Kyle
Kobashigawa, 161st Mission Support Group commander and camp commandant.
"When we are at home station we have a lot of stuff to do and so the
training gets put on hold. There's a lot to accomplish in just one
weekend," said Airman 1st Class Robert Thompson, 161st Medical Group
aerospace medic. "It's nice to come up here and not have to worry about
all the other stuff we need to do around base."
Tech. Sgt. Steven Isaman, superintendent of nursing services at the
wing, said focusing on training without distractions can save a life. He
said when self-aid buddy care is taught at home station; Airmen are
often called away in the middle of training because they are needed
elsewhere. This can take away from vital hands on training, which builds
the muscle memory needed in real-life situations.
"It's not only your life, it's your buddy's life too," said Isaman.
"It's one thing to see something demonstrated, but when you actually
perform it, you find there are little nuances that maybe you didn't
notice before. You could be making a swath to support a broken arm and
realize you need to lift the arm higher to tie the knot; things that if
you don't practice you will fumble through when they happen in real
life. If you fumble in real life you are delaying care and putting
people at risk."
Thompson said he enjoyed reinforcing skills and building new ones - especially land navigation.
"I learned how to shoot an azimuth and how to read a map and find points
on it," he said. "I never thought about counting my paces and paying
attention to that. I don't know if I'll ever have to use it, but it was
fun learning it, and I guarantee someone up here will use it someday."
Thompson also enjoyed getting to know new people.
"It's nice to be able to meet people outside of drill," he said. "You
see people around base, but you don't know their names or really know
Kobashigawa said meeting new people was almost as important as the training itself.
"Meeting new people helps with base communication, and thereby, helps
the mission," he said. "Being traditional guardsmen it's hard to
remember someone's name from month to month. We do our jobs and then go
home. At [Camp] Navajo, we ate our meals together, we trained together
and we spent time after the duty day getting to know each other. Having
the time to meet new people and get to know them on a personal basis,
will pay huge communication dividends down the road. Now they know
someone from base supply, or Petroleum Oil and Lubricants, or the clinic
- and they met at [Camp] Navajo."