Security Forces takes Alpena by storm

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Wendy Kuhn
  • 121 ARW/PA
Mission planning, land navigation, building entry, casualty evacuation, combat life-saving - these are just some of the skills that were honed at the 121st Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron's annual training at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich. from July 26, 2014 until Aug. 8, 2014.

Of the squadron's 127 members, 39 were selected to attend the training this year, and 13 members were selected as instructors.

"Since we have so many relatively new members, we wanted to take more people that have never been and would gain the most from the training," said Capt. John Haley, officer in charge, 121st ARW SFS. The instructors were chosen from the senior leadership team in Security Forces, with an emphasis on professionalism; subject matter expertise; and a chance for growth, Haley said.

The facility at the Alpena CRTC boasts 147,000 acres that are available for ground maneuver units and offers many different types of terrain, including fields, forests, and even a mock village. Regardless of whether they were low-crawling through the grass, sprinting through the woods or entering a building, SFS members were trained not only to carry out their missions tactically and decisively, but to always do so with the commander's intent in mind. Often the instructor team introduced unforeseen circumstances or obstacles to the Airmen, forcing them to change their plan and make rational decisions under pressure.

In addition to the training in Alpena, live-fire exercises were conducted on July 31, 2014, at Camp Grayling, Mich. While there, Airmen participated in familiarization training on the M249 light machine gun, the M240B machine gun and the M203 grenade launcher. They then took those skills to Alpena CRTC where they focused on the operational side of using those weapons.

Throughout the course of the training, the Airmen planned and executed their own missions with guidance from the instructors. Often, the leadership positions were assigned to the newer Airmen in order to give them exposure to the difficult situations and decisions that go with doing those jobs. 

"We put the younger into those positions to see how they perform and give them that experience," said Master Sgt. Ryan Gabriel, 121st SFS combat arms non-commissioned officer in charge. "They might be a little rusty at first, but they learn those lessons and it shows.  It's awesome to see."

It is because of this style and standard to which they train, in conjunction with the dedication, time-spent and level of expertise of the instructors, that the 121st Security Forces Squadron sets the bar wherever they go, said Tech. Sgt. Steven Nace, 121st SFS core training instructor.
"Wherever we go, people know the 121st is there," Nace said.  "They know we're going to be able to do the job, no matter the mission requirements."