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Civil Engineers Train with Defenders to Promote Multi-Capable Wingman Concept

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Noah J. Tancer

More than 80 Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing’s Civil Engineer Squadron deployed from Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, to Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, this spring for a 96-hour contingency training with a detachment of defenders assigned to the 910th Security Forces Squadron. 

Troops and cargo were transported via two of the 910th’s C-130H Hercules aircraft to demonstrate the wing’s independent mobility capabilities under simulated wartime operations. Dobbins’ vehicle assets and field-condition facilities were used to prepare the 910th CES for potential near-peer or peer deployment scenarios.

“Some of our training is geared toward contingency environments where we will have to augment security forces at some point,” said Senior Master Sgt. Clay Bucy, the operations superintendent with the 910th CES. “There’s a lesson plan for civil engineers to learn and try to teach each other a good product, but why reinvent the wheel when I can just ask security forces, ‘Hey, do you want to come along and help out?’”

The mission of Air Force civil engineers is to provide, maintain and protect installations, infrastructure and facilities necessary to support U.S. airpower and global reach. “Provide” and “protect” are emphasized under the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment concept as civil engineers could be forward-deployed with security forces to build and secure forward operation bases in austere or hostile locations.

“Having that smaller, more capable and mobile force is what the future holds,” said Master Sgt. Jeremy Bryner, a fire team leader with the 910th SFS. “If we follow the plan, we’ll have a small force on a plane and an area that’s not inhabited structurally by the military.”

Reservists from the 910th CES’s full spectrum of career fields were taught land navigation, individual movement techniques, convoy operations and integrated defense skills. In turn, defenders were taught forklift operations.

“The cops are first to secure the location and then we come right behind them to start building infrastructure,” Bucy said. “We’re training multi-capable Airmen for when it’s just the two of us in that contingent area.”

When deployed with limited personnel, both engineers and defenders will have to be on alert while pulling manpower from each career field to accomplish the mission.

“It wasn’t just us teaching them things about our career field, it was an absolute transference of skills our way from them as well,” Bryner said. “If you and I are back-to-back, then we have 360-degree security and we can start to build together from there. But nobody can do what needs to be done until that security is established.”

Along with the 910th SFS, an Airman assigned to the 910th Communications Squadron attended the training event to teach radio operation and a small group of Airmen assigned to the 910th Force Support Squadron provided troop feeding.

(Tancer is assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing public affairs office.)