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Utah Force Support Squadron Reservists Sharpen Their Expeditionary Skills

  • Published
  • By 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Citizen Airmen assigned to the 419th Force Support Squadron sharpened their core task capabilities for deployed operations during a five-day expeditionary skills training event in May at Hill Air Force Base’s Operations Readiness Training Area in Utah.

The event also expanded their warrior skills with self-defense training, taught them how to operate under duress and tested their ability to conduct distributed Agile Combat Employment operations.

The training balanced classroom instruction with practical field exercises for more than 50 participants from a diverse range of specialties, including military personnel flight, education and training, military and family readiness, cyber and sustainment services.

Working with base expeditionary airfield resources assets, participants learned the intricacies of establishing, operating and sustaining an airbase in various deployment scenarios in a Great Power Competition conflict.

Additionally, the training emphasized safety and accountability, with realistic simulations using training rifles to reinforce proper weapon handling procedures.

“We need to be ready for a future fight that is unlike one we have fought in the past 30 years, anywhere on the planet,” said Col. Gregory Kuzma, 419th Mission Support Group commander. “This type of training will shift the focus of a traditional agile combat support role to one that is more adaptable and resilient on an individual Airmen level.”  

Meticulous planning by the 419th FSS leadership team ensure all resources, from training facilities to food and morale-boosting activities, were readily available. The ability to adapt to unexpected weather changes further demonstrated the flexibility and teamwork displayed by participants and instructors alike.

“We wanted to do more than just classroom learning, and getting out into the field reminded us of what we can do as warrior Airmen,” said Maj. Jessice Henning, 419th FSS commander. “Overall, the training was a great confidence booster. Learning self-defense and base defense skills will help us be more prepared for anything in a contested environment.”

Feedback from the Airmen who participated in the training was overwhelmingly positive. They lauded the effectiveness of incorporating friendly competition to boost morale and build teamwork. Recognition of individual and team achievements at the end of the week further solidified the importance of the training and instilled a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie.

In addition to having several Air Force Reserve Command Silver Flag instructors on site to facilitate the core task training, the 419th Security Forces Squadron, 75th Security Forces Squadron and the West Valley SWAT provided combative techniques, base defense and weapons handling instructions.

The valuable lessons learned during this event will be used to further refine future training programs. These include the positive impact of team-building activities, the need for readily available cold weather gear and the importance of considering different perspectives when presenting potentially sensitive topics like self-defense.

Overall, the 419th FSS expeditionary skills training event was a resounding success. By equipping Airmen with essential skills and fostering a spirit of teamwork, the program has significantly enhanced the squadron’s readiness for future deployments.