by Senior Airman Victor J. Caputo
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
9/10/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Several
visibly upset people throw rocks and other hard objects at a convoy of
Humvees carrying 22nd Security Forces Squadron Airmen as it passes by.
As the convoy halts to remove a log blocking their path, an individual
approaches the lead vehicle, and the gaggle they had just passed begins
to close in on their flank.
A suicide vest is flashed in the front of the convoy, and intense small
arms fire opens up from the rear, and the Defenders react without a
second thought to secure their position.
A Defender goes down after being hit in the leg, and two of her wingmen
begin to perform self-aid buddy care while the other Airmen engage the
Once the enemy was subdued, the 22nd SFS Airmen then carried on with
their mission, continuing down the road towards the McConnell Air Force
Base, Kansas, combat arms training and maintenance building and the next
portion of their exercise.
Realistic scenarios like this firefight are a key aspect of the
pre-deployment training that the 22nd SFS held for several Defenders
scheduled to deploy in the near future.
"A lot of these people have never had that deployment experience to
where they've been in convoys, troop movements or how to react to
contact under fire in a deployed location," said Senior Airman Kyle
Black, 22nd Security Forces Squadron unit trainer.
The three-day course consists of two days of classroom instruction, with
in-depth discussions about what to expect in a deployed environment and
how to properly handle different scenarios.
The final day is a field training exercise, where the class puts their
skills to the test against other Airmen simulating enemy combatants in a
variety of situations, ranging from patrols in vehicles to the
extraction of high value targets from secure locations.
"[They did really well] being first-time deployers and only having two
or three days to come together and work together as a team," Black said.
"It really pushed a lot of people to step outside of their comfort zone
and expand as leaders."
The 22nd SFS regularly conducts training exercises, but the focus is
often centered on their ability to defend and secure McConnell, its
assets and its personnel. The opportunity to provide the specific skills
necessary before a possibly dangerous deployment is not something they
"Our Defenders work tirelessly to secure and protect the base at home,
and this training allows them to focus on a skill set more suited for a
deployed environment," said Maj. Robert Clouse, 22nd SFS commander. "We
want them to not only perform their duties to best of their abilities,
but to also give them the tools to excel when facing dangerous scenarios
down-range. This ultimately develops team cohesion and enhances
resiliency and survivability."